Rita Hartley has worn many hats in her life, embracing each new role as it came along – freelance writer, administrator, bookkeeper, fitness instructor, motorcycle enthusiast, wife, mother and friend. But she did not count on adding “widow” to her many roles! In just an instant, her life changed forever. The unthinkable happened when her husband of 25 years died suddenly. Despite being fit and healthy, he suffered a sudden cardiac arrhythmia and was gone. Gone.
The next two years became a whirlwind of emotion and survival that she processed with the help of family, friends, fitness, and her daily journaling. Amid the shock, Rita struggled over the altered bond with her three children, while also assessing the future of the family business and learning how to live without her best friend. Suddenly single in a world of couples, she was living a life she definitely did not sign up for.
Long Climb Back, her first novel, traces the rocky and poignant path Rita took to recover from the loss and rediscover herself. In her story, which covers the first two years after his death, you will see that tears, family drama, more losses, and intense loneliness are mingled with some old emotions and new friends, leading Rita to an ultimate personal triumph she never expected. She trained to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, a lifetime dream that her husband had before he ran out of time. As part of the climb project, Rita raised money to grant a child’s wish through Make-A-Wish Foundation. Today, Rita has found a new normal and added a few more roles: mountain climber, entrepreneur, published author, survivor, and thriver.
Whether you have experienced sudden personal loss or not, you’ll enjoy her story as it delivers a personal message: Life can be messy but it can also be magnificent!