Author’s book helps her process and heal from trauma
- Andrea Ledding | April 05, 2018
Nancy La Fleur has written “Finding Lost”, a book about growing up around abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence and other traumas in a way that forges a path towards healing.
“I wanted to be creative so it is written through these five women...they have flashbacks or memories and those are my real childhood memories — it’s a mixture of fiction and non-fiction,” La Fleur explains, adding they told her story for her. “I could have easily become any of the women that I wrote about — a homeless woman, my biological mother was homeless at some point in her life.”
La Fleur says she came to a point where she was tired of living with the negative emotions of trauma, and the book was her healing path forward. Many of the characters are “what ifs” of what could have happened to La Fleur — when she was in grade six she stole some money and ran away to Saskatoon, clutching an address she hoped was her aunt’s.
“I always think about “what if” - what if the taxi driver was in a prostitution ring...I was a trusting little character. Miraculously those things didn’t happen and led me to where I am now.”
She says writing the book was an emotional journey, and in the last part of the book she makes sense of the raw emotions of processing that trauma.
“It was quite healing. You never really recover from trauma but at least I have a sense now of understanding my healing journey,” said La Fleur, who uses her book and her experiences to connect with the children she works with as a school administrator. “I wanted to make my story public — it’s sort of shaking people up and saying this is still happening and we need to do something about, we need to work harder, we need to fight harder for these kids. I still see it today and it’s heartbreaking...So I think my book kind of awakens or gives a realization of the realities of trauma.”
She feels a sense of urgency because over the course of 24 years of teaching it doesn’t seem to her like it’s gotten any better, and so the book isn’t really about her.
“I want this to be about the situation of children today, right now, what’s still happening,” she adds. “If you haven’t lived it, I don’t know if you can really understand it.”
Her own healing journey began with counsellors and psychologists but she really wanted to understand how to heal her spirit and what that looks like as an Indigenous woman. The sweat lodge was a key experience.
“I’d never felt anything so powerful, and it felt right. Why aren’t we using sweat lodges as a part of healing, what’s holding us back?”
Key to her own resiliency, and inspirational to her book, is the power of love and community.
“When I look back on how did this little girl survive in this tiny town of Weyakwin? What was it that nurtured me and built my resilience? And what it really was, was the power of love from these women that would take me into their homes and feed me and give me a bed to sleep in. None of them drank, they were all healthy loving mothers. This is powerful, the power of love and nurturing our children in our communities. That can go a long way.”
The book, which she describes as a quick and direct read, can be purchased online or at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon.