Local Author’s Book Finds Blessings Out of Tragedy

Sep 05, 2018

Barnegat Township resident Katie McAndrews-McNeill debuts as a published author with the release of Unexpected Gifts: If Something Happens, Would You? Published by Archway Publishing, the memoir shares one woman’s story as she loses her only sister to cancer and makes a decision that drastically changes her life.

“Prior to her passing she, her husband and I had many conversations,” McAndrews-McNeill recalled. “One of the topics we discussed was ‘If something happens, would you?’ The question quickly went from ‘if’ to ‘when.’”

In the time of tragedy and loss, McAndrews-McNeill said she made a selfless decision to deliver on a very important question asked of her when her sister was dying of cancer. The book details her journey from being a fashion executive in New York City to being a nanny of her two nieces and “the unexpected gifts” that came her way as a result of honoring her sister’s dying wish.

“It is a book that relates to anyone who has experienced loss, tragedy, fear and despair and highlights the importance of finding strength in those times to continue living to honor the beautiful lives of those lost,” she said. “It touches a myriad of different age groups, given the main characters’ ages. It offers different perspectives, to include children on the grieving process and the resilience that comes with love and hope from strong family, friends and faith.”

Or as she stated in her book, “If you remember anything you read in my journey, please remember that planning for death in life is not only smart but critical. Although it is very difficult to have those conversations, it truly gives the family left behind after a tragedy some peace of mind amidst the chaos and pain, knowing that there is somewhat of a plan in place and knowing the person that had to leave had a hand in determining how life would be without him or her. I hope many of the conversations are truly for planning. Take it from me: don’t sign up as part of the plan if you can’t fulfill your end of the deal. When you’re chosen as part of the plan, be honored, take it seriously, and realize that when really bad things happen to really good people, good things can continue in honoring a loved one’s dying wish.”

McAndrews-McNeill describes herself as a “small town girl from Pennslyvania,” who for 20 years was a fashion executive based out of Philadelphia and New York City, working for various well-renowned brands. She was a magna cum laude graduate from Texas A&M, where she received her degree in marketing.

Readers may visit https://www.archwaypublishing.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001168093 to purchase her book.

— Eric Englund


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