Rocklin woman shares survival story

By: Susan Belknap, Placer Herald Editor
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Surviving a tragedy once in life is difficult. Getting through two life-changing ordeals is unfathomable for most people. Debbie Wilson has been there twice and through the writing of her first book, she has somehow been able to make lemonade out of lemons. In 1991, Wilson, a Roseville resident and Placer Herald employee, survived a horrendous car accident in Southern California that left her in a wheelchair for months. Three years later, her husband of 14 years committed suicide. Six years later Wilson decided to write a book about her experiences. In just a few weeks, she will share her experiences, encouragement and triumphs over the tragedies she’s experienced in a special presentation at Borders Books at 2030 Douglas Blvd. in Roseville from 4-6 p.m. on Dec. 6. “I decided to write the book after I had done some healing and felt compelled to write,” Wilson said. “I didn’t want to relive what had happened but I just couldn’t keep it inside any longer. I wrote 16 pages the first night.” Although Wilson admits writing “From Suicide to Serenity: One Survivor’s Story,” was her first book, she had always kept a journal and friends have constantly told her she has a way with words. “I’ve always liked to write,” Wilson said. “It’s a good way to express myself.” Wilson said her husband struggled for 28 years as an alcoholic. Even though he was in recovery for about five months before he died she said he was never able to see into the future. “He had such darkness and depression and a chemical imbalance that he never saw that life could have gotten better,” she said. “I was always in denial because he was such a remarkable person and so good and loyal to me.” Wilson said when she came home from work to find him dead, it was the worst moment in her life. After her husband’s death, Wilson said she stayed in Southern California for another 12 years before moving to Roseville in 2006 upon the coaxing of some friends. Wilson said writing a book about her personal experiences has been healing and she hopes her ordeal will help others who are going through the same situation. “My advice to others is to know yourself,” she said. “You are the only one who knows best what you can handle.” Wilson also stresses the importance of being able to talk to friends and said formalized support groups can be helpful for many people as well. Going through any sort of tragedy can change a person’s life. For Wilson she said since her husband’s death, she’s become less materialistic and she is especially aware of how she treats people at all times. “Through something like this, you can get better or bitter,” she said. “I’ve vowed to be better.” Wilson has been working as an administrative assistant at The Placer Herald newspaper. Those who see her every day in the office can attest to her upbeat demeanor. “Debbie is always friendly to everyone, not just the public, said Cynthia Weems, sales manager for The Placer Herald. “She always has a cheerful attitude and genuinely loves to engage people in conversation in a positive way.”