A CORK woman who showed incredible determination to complete her autobiography before tackling her struggles with reading and writing, has now written a new book called There Is Always Hope.
“People tell me this book is even better than my first book” says Collette Wolfe, from Carrigtwohill.
If I Could Hold You Again, Collette’s autobiography, tells a story of tragedy and loss and describes the devastating consequences of bullying and suicide, and how one mother’s grief led her on a mission.
“That book was ghost written from voice recordings,” says Collette.
“I couldn’t read or write for years. I hid that from my husband and kids for years.
“Working in Marks & Spencer, I used to hide it from my colleagues. I covered it up. There was a sense of shame going with it.”
All that changed when Collette went back to college last year, to CSN, Tramore Road Campus, participating in a back-to-education initiative.
“I thought I’d missed the boat,” admits Collette.
But there was always hope.
“I was very nervous,” she says. “I had never used a computer before. In school I was told I was stupid, and I left school young.
“But I got the courage to phone the college. I loved the back-to-education course. I graduated last October.”
And she wrote a second book.
“ There is Always Hope is a story of hope and encouragement that myself and others can testify that no matter what challenges you face in life; there is always hope,” says Collette.
“The journey of hope came out of darkness, tragedy, and utter despair.
“The book gives testimonies of myself and others who have been through dark times and have come out the other side with joy, peace and hope.
“Stories of ordinary people that have faced similar tragedies that were full of fear; fear that can paralyse you, and make you feel there is no way out.”
Is the book a self-help book?
“ There Is Always Hopewill be a self-help book to so many people because it covers so many issues that people face daily, a pattern to overcome, gain insight into common frustrations, difficulties and tragedies, to become equipped for the journey ahead, and to know there is always hope,” says Collette.
People face challenges all the time.
“There will be times throughout our lives when we feel as though we have been cut down, that we have nothing left within to give,” says Collette.
“Just as a felled tree can grow tall and strong again, we too can grow, and our shoots can spring forth from the darkest corners, by the grace of God.
“There is Always Hope is a collection of stories from those who came back from hopelessness.”
When Collette became redundant from her job at Marks & Spencer at the age of 60 in June, 2021, she courageously took a new path in life.
“I worked very hard in college and they worked hard with me,” says Collette.
“They were so patient and kind.”
Collette’s friends were also in her corner.
“My friend Linda at work rang me out of the blue and told me, ‘God says to write a second book’. She rang me again and said that God revealed to her that my second book would be better than my first book.”
Collette’s first book was well received.
“After If I Could Hold You Again, people asked if I would write a second book,” says Collette. “I did not think I had it in me.”
But she did.
“People were looking for hope during the pandemic,” says Collette.
“Every day I watched the fear on the faces of those that came into the food hall at Marks & Spencer. No one was talking to anyone; they were too terrified.
"People were looking for hope. In a world so filled with fear, I realised that I have more to share and I feel called to share it.”
Collette has unwavering faith.
“God will never leave you where he found you,” she says.
“I decided to write this book to share the message of hope. For me, hope is seeing light despite the darkness. My hope came with my journey to see if God was real. It was not easy, and it didn’t happen overnight.
“The moment I discovered that God was indeed real, everything changed,” says Collette.
“It was amazing and incredibly emotional. Hope rushed in and filled my body and soul.
“When we hear about people surviving hard situations, it brings hope. So I decided to share a few encouraging stories of how we survived challenging times and emerged filled with hope and peace.”
Collette has met people who bounced back after challenging times and she includes their stories in her inspirational book.
“I met lots of broken people,” says Collette. “God changed their lives, and they told me their stories.
“They were mostly Cork people. There was one lady from Spain who was homeless, and she stayed here with us for two weeks. Garda Anthony Mark Ryan tells the story in the book of how he was called to our house after Leanne’s death.”
Triona, Leanne’s sister, features in There Is Always Hope. She recalls the family tragedy and the aftermath and how she picked up the pieces of her own life.
Collette is proud of her new work.
“The feedback is very positive. I’m delighted.”
Her college is proud of her too.
“They wanted me to launch the book in the college,” says Collette. “So that’s happening in CSN, Tramore Road Campus on April 27 at 7pm.”
Collette’s journey goes on.
“I will meet a lot more people and hopefully leave them with a little more hope than I found them with,” she says.
“I could only share some of the stories I have with you, but I pray they are enough for you to see how truly wonderful God is.
“For 46 years I walked this life without God; I never gave God much thought, yet in my darkest hour when I called out, God heard me and He answered.”
There is Always Hope, by Collette Wolfe, kindle addition, is available on Amazon. The paperback book is on Apple, Kobo, at €12.99.