MaryAnn Westgard spent her time at the beginning of the pandemic writing her life story. Her autobiography, “Lost But Never Alone,” is now a published book that spent four weeks on the best-seller list for Canadian company, Friesen Publishing.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time for my kids, as a sort of legacy for when I’m gone, because you know, I’m 77,” said Westgard. “At first I didn’t know how to put it together, but it seemed like as soon as I got into it, it just seemed to flow. It was like I was writing a letter to my daughters; I had it done in about two months.”
Westgard began to share parts of her story with her friend.
“There’s a lot of stuff in there that’s very private,” said Westgard. “I gave them tidbits and they kept telling me I needed to write a book. Once I had it finished I had my daughters read it because I wanted to make sure I had their OK. They told me to go for it, they thought it was great.”
Westgard hadn’t done any other writing and doesn’t consider herself a writer. She sent it to Friesen Press and asked if an editor could tell her if it was worth printing. Westgard waited six weeks, expecting the worst. When she received an eight-page feedback letter, she was overwhelmed.
“They just praised it up and down and said that I needed to get it out there. They said it would help so many people that are going through things; they will be blessed by it,” Westgard said. “I had thought I wanted to just keep it for my daughters, but God had other plans, and so I let it go.
“I know God was in it, because I don’t think I could have done that by myself, I really don’t.”
“Lost But Never Alone” was printed and then released March 26. It spent four weeks on the best-seller list with Friesen Press and is available through Coles bookstore in Medicine Hat and the Medicine Hat and Saskatoon public libraries.
“After I was told it was in the library, I went on their website just to see, and all their copies were out,” Westgard laughed.
The book runs the span of Westgard’s life; she exposes many personal struggles and how she got through them, including her relationship with God.
“I turned my back on God for 25 years, I figured there was definitely no God,” said Westgard. “But I came back to the Lord stronger than ever because of how he protected me all through my life.
“When I look back on my life and all the things that happened to me, it’s all worth it now. I went through piles of hardship, but everything was worth it because it made me the person I am today, and I kind of like me today.”
Westgard says she has received so much positive feedback from people who have read the book.
“They said how much it helped them, because they thought they were alone with some things they were going through, and they thought no one else would ever understand,” Westgard said.
Westgard says she hopes people feel supported when they read her book and learn of her struggles and triumph over them.
“Don’t ever give up, never give up, no matter what obstacles you find yourself in,” Westgard said. “The sun will shine again.”
Lauren Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News