A birthday cake at the age of 24, and a very special Makhanda teacher are some of the moments that have brightened the life of Myrtle Janet Gray. The motivational speaker and life coach was at Amazwi, in Makhanda, recently to launch her book, The Fatherless Daughter.
Special guests, family and friends stepped up to make the occasion memorable. The purpose of the event is to highlight the mental and emotional impact of an absent father in a child’s life.
Gray met her father for the first time as a teenager – by accident – and doesn’t even have a photograph to remind herself of him. Receiving her first birthday cake from her husband at the age of 24 was a priceless moment in her life.
The Fatherless Daughter deals with forgiveness – the main reason Gray wrote this book – and the raw emotions she shared in telling her story had tears rolling down cheeks.
Getting a special heart-warming mention was Makhanda teacher Cynthia Jackson. She was at the launch, celebrated as one a golden teacher who was Gray’s inspiration at school and in life.
Gray described how she met her father by mistake.
Together with Asteline Classen and her other cousins, she went to a house in Klipfontein, her home town. “Do you know where you are? You are in your father’s house,” someone told her.
Gray didn’t even know what he looked like.
The teenage Myrtle decided to ran away from her mom’s house. She didn’t know where to go, but she knew she’d had enough.
“Something said to me, ‘Get the hell out of here!’,” she said.
She got a lift from a trucker from Port Elizabeth to Eldorado Park in Joburg – and for four years, no one knew where she was.
Pain, heartache, disappointment, despondency – in The Fatherless Daughter Gray tackes these head on with a bold and courageous style that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.
A book that would fit into the category of the best mind bending-thrillers, this book is real, emotional and deep. It will give hope even to those in the most hopeless situations. The author uses her real life experiences to take you on a journey or healing, hope, restoration. You will come face-to-face with deep pain and you will find motivation to rise and get out from under the mess that has held you captive.
Myrtle Gray is a wife, mother, and the founder and owner of the company StepOut and StepUp. A certified life coach, motivational speaker, wellness life coach and humanitarian with a vision and passion to help women globally who are stuck and struggling to restore, replenish, reactivate and reclaim their rightful place in society.
Gray was born into a humble family on a beautiful farm that boasted a rich cultural history including artefacts of the Khoisan and the Diaz Cross. She grew up by the Bushmans River, surrounded by fresh springs, beautiful dunes and unspoilt beaches.
Her memoir describes how, at the age of 15, she left behind this beautiful landscape and her life took a 180-degree turn as she found herself in an underworld of darkness, terror, adversity and rejection. In her own words, “I have lived four different lives, I am now stepping into my fifth life.”
Gray says she has walked through the ‘valley of death’ many times. She has been alone, far away from home and has experienced things that she would never want any young woman or girl to go through. Although she has come out of that dark place physically unharmed, she is still dealing with the negative impact and the mental and emotional scars she carries.
Gray dedicated the book to her late grandparents, her mother and her siblings and also the community of Klipfontein for being part of her childhood.
At the launch, she also acknowledged her husband Larry for being a pillar of strength and support throughout her emotional roller coaster, her children, family, friends.
“A special thanks Dr Tich, Bheki and the rest of the team at Faithland Publishers,” she said. Gray is already planning her second book.
Books can be ordered through Lurika Coltman
StepOut and StepUp Pty Ltd