Saturday, 7th October, 2017 was the Day of the Shattering. Sixteen months on from the death of my only child by his own hand, and as my husband of 34 years lay gravely ill in hospital, my life as I knew it was revealed as a sham. Everything I knew about my husband, our marriage, our lives disintegrated into unreality and illusion. My identity as an intelligent, perceptive woman became fragmented – so who was I?
And I Only is a combination of memoir, fantasy, personal essay and self-help, with an accent on mindfulness in daily life. It explores the nature of experience and truth, knowledge and belief, reality and illusion and forgiveness and revenge, using humour to punctuate the darkness and disintegration of Hattie’s life. She draws upon her knowledge of history, folklore, mythology and archetypal imagery as she navigates the aftermath of the death of her only child by his own hand and the unmasking of her dying husband’s secret life. We all tell ourselves stories about our lives, and different people may have competing and conflicting versions of reality. Whose reality is real? How do we know who we are? And I Only charts Hattie’s struggles with these questions as she remembers that the only choice she has lies in how she responds to all that has happened. Moment by moment, she must find the resilience to rebuild her shattered life.