The stars do shine bright
SHERYL McCorry has suffered through terrible abuse in her life. The 60-year-old cattle farmer from Western Australia never imagined that she would fall victim to marital abuse.
She always considered herself a strong woman, having lived and worked cattle stations in the rugged outback of the Kimberley.
Stars Over Shiralee is her story about this period of her life, which follows on from her first book Diamonds and Dust.
“I never planned on writing a second book, in fact both were written as records for my children and a way to get things off my chest,” she said.
“I never expected to get either of them published.
“But I've kept diaries ever since I was a teenager. My grandfather (who was editor of The West Australian newspaper) advised me to always keep a diary and I did, even through those terrible times.
“My diaries were my saviour in my marriage to (second husband) Terry.
“It was my way of telling what was happening and responding to the situation without having to say it aloud and cause further problems for myself.”
Sheryl said she felt an enormous amount of humiliation and embarrassment for staying in such a bad relationship.
“I felt humiliated and embarrassed for not having the strength to do something about my situation at the time, and I carry terrible guilt about how it affected my children and my parents - they all worried about me and it took a toll on each of them.”
That said, Sheryl is quick to assure Stars Over Shiralee is not a “husband-bashing” book.
“I don't blame him (Terry) for the situation - it's just the way it was, and if I had had strength at the time I wouldn't have been there,” she said.
“But I'm a lot stronger now. And my divorce should have been finalised on October 5.”
Sheryl was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly before she was due to wed her second husband.
She went through radiation treatment afterwards and was left feeling weak and battered.
“I have regular checks, although the doctors are yet to say I'm clear,” she said.
“But I'm stronger and healthier now and I plan on being around for some time.”
Sheryl is the proud grandmother of two young boys, with news of a third grandchild due next year.
With Stars Over Shiralee recently released, Sheryl says the public has responded positively to her second book and she hoped it was inspiring for anyone who may be in an abusive relationship.
“I hadn't accepted help and didn't have the courage to; I couldn't find the strength to get out on my own.
“It wasn't until I admitted I needed help that I was able to see things clearly and regain some strength,” she said.
“It was difficult to read back through my diaries when I was writing Stars over Shiralee; it made me angry and upset to relive what I went through, and it was terribly draining.
“Some days I would go to bed three or four times and fall into an exhausted sleep.
“But now I'm on top of the world and in a real happy place,” she laughs.
“Life couldn't be better!”
You can meet Sheryl when she visits the Elanora Library, The Pines Shopping Centre on November 2 at 10.30am.