Maryanne Pope was only in her 30s when she lost her husband to a tragic workplace accident.
Her husband John Petropoulos, was a Calgary police officer, who was killed in the line of duty in 2000.
He was just 32 years old when he was checking a supposed break and enter at a warehouse, with a canine officer and dog.
Petropoulos went up a ladder to the mezzanine level of the building, he stepped across some wires and through a ceiling because there was no safety railing in place. He fell, hit his head and died of brain injuries.
The building hadn’t even been broken into. It was a false alarm.
“He gave his life protecting a premise that there was no one in anyway. So there was a lot to come to terms with,” Pope said.
Just two weeks after his death, Pope began writing a novel on the aftermath of his death. During an eight-year journey she wrote her book A Widow’s Awakening in a creative non-fiction style about her journey through the first year of grief after her husband died.
Red Deer residents had a chance to talk to her face-to-face during a book signing at the Red Deer Chapters Sunday afternoon.
Pope said some people may be grieving a loss of their own and she hopes that they realize they aren’t alone and they aren’t crazy.
She said she hopes the general reader learn about the tough emotional journey and it will help them to wake up to what is important in their own lives.
“If you need to make changes in your own life, or the community around you, than do it because sometimes you run out of time,” she said.
Pope has come through her grief. She is the board chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund that raises public awareness about the importance of workplace safety for emergency services personnel.
She is also the founder and CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions Inc.
She lives in Calgary, where she loves walking, hiking, hip hop dancing, swimming, reading, travelling and hanging out with her two German shepherd cross dogs named Sable and Soda.