When Olivia Hahn lost her mother to cancer at the age of 15, she struggled to find books to help her move through her grief.
So she wrote and published her own.
After searching for books that spoke to the pain of profound loss at such a young age, Hahn found herself empty-handed, feeling alone and stuck. In her heart, she knew she wasn’t the only one experiencing grief as a teen and set out to write a book chronicling her journey.
After about a year of writing, Healing Our Wounded Hearts: A real life story about loss in the voice of a teenager went live on Amazon.
“I wanted to do something that would share my voice to help other young people who have lost someone,” Hahn said.
Through writing, poetry and dance, Hahn said she is making space for her grief. Penning her book also gave her the opportunity to remember her mother.
“I got to document all the memories I had with my mum,” she said. “That is something I really wanted to have in writing because I was scared I might forget with the time that goes by.”
Writing down her favourite moments with her mother solidified the memories for Hahn, and she said she hopes others will be able to relate to remembering the best in a bad situation.
While it was challenging to remember the hard parts of her mother’s passing, Hahn said it was helpful for processing what happened and imperative for figuring out how to move forward.
“Revisiting those memories was a bit tricky, but it was also rewarding,” she said.
As a Grade 11 student at Reynolds Secondary, Hahn also won a Saanich 2022 Arts, Culture and Heritage Award for inspiring youth arts for her work.
“Writing this book was helpful for me for the beginning of my grief, but it’s not over,” she said. “I will keep writing and sharing in hopes to help youth have a voice and for adults to listen to us and our wounded hearts. Our pain is valid and the more push away our struggling the more we suffer in silence.”