WINCHESTER - Kathryn Bowker Haber, born and raised in Winchester, is gearing up for her self-help memoir release due out on Nov. 30. The title of her upcoming memoir is called “Fear Less, Love More: What to Do When the Unexpected Happens.” The book is based on her experience of losing her mother, father, brother, and sister to cancer, and her own cancer fight while raising three babies under three years of age.
“To help make it through these losses and other life challenges,” Bowker Haber stated, “I explored spirituality, researched the greatest minds, and concluded that there are five choices that can help us live a peaceful and fulfilled life - whatever our challenges may be - and wanted to share with others."
The book is geared toward readers between 35 and 75 who have had enough life experience to know life can be hard and full of challenges. These challenges may be due to cancer, anxiety, unemployment, divorce, COVID-19, and its aftermath, etc. She also noted that it appeals to readers who want to grow their spirituality.
Bowker Haber was the youngest of five children on Wildwood Street in Winchester and graduated from Winchester High School. She went on to receive her Bachelor's in Sociology and Masters in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. She then moved to Denver for her doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology at the University of Denver and planned to move back to Winchester after she received her doctorate degree but met her husband shortly after graduation. He was a local restauranteur and a wonderful dad to two young girls so she decided to stay in Denver.
13 years ago, Bowker Haber was diagnosed with Lymphoma and remained private about it. She didn’t want anyone to pity her because she had lost her father and sister to cancer only a few years before. She had seven-month-old twins and a three-year-old at home.
She learned when she was vulnerable that she experienced great love and compassion, not pity. She verbalized that sharing her story helped others feel that they were not alone which gave her a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
“It takes courage to be vulnerable,” she mentioned, “but it also builds trust and connection with others – which is foundational to all healthy relationships.”
Bowker Haber disclosed that she had a great deal of support around her and said the love and compassion from her family, friends, and community were abundant.
At first, Bowker Haber wrote about her experiences to get her feelings of loss out of her heart and mind and onto a blank piece of paper. She found it cathartic. Years after her own cancer experience she decided to actually write a book about what she had learned on her own journey that helped her through very difficult times. She noted that she felt a calling to share her insights with readers to help them through their unique challenges. It has been years in the making and she is excited to bring the book to life through Koehler Books.
Professionally, Bowker Haber is a clinical and organizational psychologist. She commented that being a psychologist herself does not make dealing with losses and her own cancer diagnosis any easier and it hit her just as hard as it would anyone else. She revealed that the memoir is not meant to be a cancer self-help memoir. She added that her career ties into the book because many of the vignettes that illuminate the five choices were written based on her executive clients and friends life challenges, as well. She wanted to mix in others’ experiences – not just her own. She greatly appreciated the willingness and vulnerability of her clients and friends who shared their stories with her – and ultimately the world.
Bowker Haber is also on the Board of Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research (WOH). The foundation was founded in 2012 by Maureen Shul after she lost her mother and brother to the disease within months of each other. Bowker Haber joined the board in 2013, after losing her father to pancreatic and sister to breast cancer. A couple of years later, she lost her brother and mother to pancreatic cancer, as well.
WOH has an endowment with the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Center and partners with its scientists and oncologists to keep abreast of the innovative research they are conducting to fight pancreatic cancer. Being a part of the board helps Bowker Haber channel her losses into something constructive – raising awareness and contributing monies toward research for a cure for pancreatic cancer.
A starfish has been very symbolic to Bowker Haber for decades as she can be seen wearing it on necklaces in pictures, and it is even on the cover of her new memoir. She noted that as far as she can remember she has had an affinity for the ocean as it replenishes her soul. The starfish symbolizes rejuvenation and regrowth. She mentioned that as humans we are not perfect and can feel broken at times, but if we choose to heal, we can replenish, grow and rejuvenate our souls - just as a starfish regrows its arms when wounded. Bowker Haber has starfish jewelry, ornaments, dried starfish, etc. in her home and office as nice visuals of the gratitude she feels for being on earth every day.
Bowker Haber plans to write more books in the future. She now writes a weekly blog for her company, Ball Aerospace, on topics related to leadership, mindfulness, stress, gratitude, resiliency, and other pertinent life issues. She noted that she has a few years’ worth of these blogs and would like to compile them into a book with the intent to provide support/inspiration to others.
She revealed that she would also like to author a book on romantic love and relationships, something that has always been an interest of hers. Lastly, she’s always wanted to learn about others “coming to faith” stories - however they define faith - and write a story based on her interviews, focused on the similarities and differences of the various journeys. Of those three ideas, however, she has not decided which one will be next.
To anyone struggling right now, Bowker Haber suggests to be open with others about your challenges. Keeping these feelings inside isn’t healthy and causes more stress which can impact our emotional and physical well-being in ways we may not fully understand. She verbalized that human beings want to love and support one another in hard times; we are biologically wired to be in connection with each other. Try to open yourself up to that support, Bowker Haber noted. It makes the world of difference.
On Nov. 30, “Fear Less, Love More: What to Do When the Unexpected Happens” can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie, or Books A Million. More information on her book can be found on her website www.kathrynhaber.com.