Literary, Belleville, Ont.
A young widow’s story of transformation
By Joy Goddard
Despite her fresh-faced, happy-go-lucky appearance, Allison Pilling has been in a deep dark place where she has faced her worst fears. Climbing out of it, the young woman has gained wisdom beyond her years and hopes to help others by what she has learned. Her book, R.I.P: Restoring Inner Peace, is doing just that. Just after the book’s release in January, it hit the Number 1 best-seller spot in the grief and bereavement category on Amazon.
Pilling was living the Canadian dream. She and her loving husband, James, were well-respected engineers with two healthy children, a beautiful home, and a wide circle of family and friends. Their downward spiral began with her husband’s secret drinking problem.
Since he hid it well, she had no idea he was an alcoholic. He wasn’t a mean drunk, for instance. James disengaged from everybody, preferring to tackle his demons on his own. When she was occupied bathing the kids after dinner at night, he’d pull out his stash of vodka hidden in his hockey bag. Sometimes, he’d finish a 26-ounce bottle in one sitting. Alarm bells rang out the night she caught him stumbling down the hall, ricocheting off the walls, while carrying their baby to her crib.
His full disclosure gave her hope after months of feeling abandoned within their marriage: “I didn’t see this as an end,” she says. “I saw it as the beginning for us to move forward and repair what I felt was lost in our relationship.” Still, she was consumed by guilt because she hadn’t recognized he was in trouble before.
When she tried to help him, he pushed back. It wasn’t until after they’d separated, she faced her worst nightmare. The police had found him dead. She was a widow at 36.
Her life experience in the book is raw and heart-wrenching at times, told with honesty, respect, and compassion. She isn’t afraid of the truth. It has helped Pilling relate to others who have faced similar situations of abandonment through death, divorce, alcoholism, and more. As a certified life coach now, she offers practical strategies to find peace and empowerment when life drops you into a deep dark place.
Is there another book in the works? “Funny you should ask,” she says. “I’m hoping to have a book out next fall. It will be based on my life experiences too.”