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Sisters Gail Sezna and Wendy Ingersoll wrote books to help them get through trying times. Now they hope those works will help others heal.
Sisters Gail Sezna and Wendy Ingersoll have endured a series of very challenging events. Sezna lost two of her three children to separate tragedies about 10 years ago. Ingersoll was forced to deal with alcoholism in her family. They both went through divorce at the same time after lengthy marriages.
In the aftermath, they each were moved to publish books to help them deal with their loss and grief. Their works weave stories of recovery that they hope will help others who have had similar experiences.
Ingersoll, a musician and piano teacher who had previously published a chapbook of poetry, put together a full-length book of poems titled “Grace Only Follows.” Sezna, a registered nurse, wrote a short memoir called “My Boys: A Mother’s Story After Multiple Losses.”
Ingersoll and Sezna, who both live in the Wilmington area, won Delaware Press Association awards for their books. They have also done a number of joint “Sisters’ Readings” with another scheduled for next month.
“The arch of our stories is something bad happens, we work our way through it through various processes and we come out with a positive outlook,” Ingersoll says. “I think both stories are about recovery. About moving forward.”
Sezna started writing after her 15-year-old son Teddy died in a boating accident. A little more than a year later, her oldest son, Deeg, was killed during the World Trade Center attack.
“I was on a mission to tell a story,” Sezna says. “I have this terrible fear that your kids are going to be forgotten. I wrote down every single detail so I don’t forget and the world wouldn’t forget. It became how to survive all of that. I really wanted it to be a resource for other people who experienced something like that.”
The sisters will hold a joint reading in October at Second Saturday in Lantana Square. In the meantime, Ingersoll expects to start work on another book—something not quite as heavy as the last.
“I’m hoping that my next book will be happier,” she says with a laugh. “I don’t want to write about divorce anymore.” —Drew Ostroski
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