Rutland writer documents lost friend’s grief and renewed hope in poetry book


A writer who described a close friend’s grieving process through a series of poems hopes they can help others cope with the loss.

Tracey Dene Powell of Whissendine published “My Little Book of Grief: A Personal Collection of Poetry” last week after being picked up by US publisher Brenda Cortez of BC Books LLC.

The poems helped Tracey ease the pain of the loss she suffered following the death of popular Langham teacher Bob Sheridan in November 2020.

Tracey Dene Powell has written songs, musicals and plays as well as poetry

She was part of Bob’s bubble during covid and described him as a father figure and mentor.

“I took Bob’s death very badly,” she said. “I went to a very dark place with depression, not really wanting to go on.

“But I found that getting my feelings out in writing actually released that pain.

“What I hope people will see in this book is that you go through those bad times and come out the other side.”

Kevin's artwork for Come Back.  Image: Kevin Becken
Kevin’s artwork for Come Back. Image: Kevin Becken

She thinks the loss of her friend brought to the surface another grief that had been dormant since losing her parents in quick succession.

Tracey then lost her 54-year-old sister to cancer 20 years ago.

The covid restrictions in place around hospital visits and funerals at the time of Bob’s illness added to the trauma.

The fall
The fall

“My heart goes out to everyone who suffered a loss that year,” Tracey added.

“It was a difficult time to go through and it did not help my grieving process.

“I lost my parents in the space of three months when I was 27 and I don’t think I fully absorbed that.

The mirror
The mirror

“In the past two years, I have probably experienced for the first time a real grieving process.

“When people don’t grieve properly it can stay there and do a lot of damage later on and I think that’s happened to me.”

Tracey has a background in marketing, but has been writing since the age of 14, as a singer-songwriter.

Come back
Come back

After releasing an album, she wrote a musical, Phantom Love, which was performed at the Curve Theater in Leicester, then moved on to writing comedy.

She was surprised by the response to her poetry – and her experience.

Acclaimed writer William Ivory penned a heartfelt foreword, while Matt Hampson was among those who offered testimonial.

This figure depicts 'Blackbird'.  Image: Kevin Becken
This figure depicts ‘Blackbird’. Image: Kevin Becken

The book is available at all major retailers, such as Amazon and Waterstones, and she hopes to do signings closer to home soon.

“Grieving is a difficult journey for everyone and you come out of it a different person,” she said.

“But I’m in a good place. Making something positive out of something so awful really lifted my spirits.

“I know the importance of living life to the fullest because that’s what Bob would want me to do.”

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