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Author Sharon Emery Explores Overcoming Loss, Disability and Human Resiliency in “It’s Hard Being You”

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struggled with the losses and limits she faced but couldn’t change – no matter how hard she tried.

And she did try. First with her incurable severe stutter, then with the death of her daughter, Jessica, and the too-early deaths of her own younger siblings. Meanwhile, her “broken” voice meant her long career in communications was regularly a battle.

Emery wrote this memoir – – to help guide her children on their own life journeys, stressing the amazing resilience of humans beings.

Exhibit A: herself.

As for Emery, she was a mother, sister, and daughter – and lost all those roles. She was a journalist, public relations consultant, and teacher – and never able to speak fluently.

Her memoir recounts Emery’s challenges and achievements, tracing her efforts to give them meaning and find where they fit in her life. It’s a process she considers vital to surviving what happens to you – telling the story. And hers is a story she wants her adult children, and readers, to know.

That story includes an unflinching journey through her grief in the drowning death of her oldest child, who was developmentally delayed and cognitively impaired. But it also reveals how she survived, and survived well, in the face of such loss.

Emery encourages her readers to embrace people with disabilities, offering practical advice on how to do that. Stuttering is a key focus, and Emery’s observations about the reactions of fluent speakers to stutters are illuminating. The title of , “The Disabled Listener,” signals just who she thinks needs to improve their communication skills.

It’s Hard Being You: A Primer on Being Happy Anyway is available at select bookstores and on

Horizon Books in Traverse City is hosting Emery for a book signing and discussion on Saturday June 25 at 1pm. For more details on the event,

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