From Tragedy to Triumph... One Woman's Inspiring Story of Healing and Resilience
Plus the companion resource guide, What Now?, gives you everything you need to know in the days and years to come… all in one place!
Books by Jan Canty, PhD
Navigating the Aftermath of Homicide & Suicide
Losing a loved one to homicide or suicide changes your life forever; . . .
. . . worse, it feels like no one is in your corner as your horrific to-do list lengthens.
But with this empathetic and practical guide, you won’t be alone.
Homicide survivor and psychologist Dr. Jan Canty has been there. Forced to navigate the unfamiliar and disconnected procedures, personnel, and organizations that bombard survivors following a violent death, she is now determined to help others find their way.
With input from experts and fellow survivors, What Now? gathers everything you need to know in the days and years to come, such as . . .
- Organizing your support community
- Facing the media
- Making burial decisions
- What to expect during a police investigation
- When you need a lawyer
- Understanding social changes
- How crime-victim advocates work for you
- Decisions about death-scene cleanup
- Protecting your physical and mental health
- Supporting the grief process in adults and children
- Understanding a homicide trial, sentencing, and parole
- Coping with PTSD
- And more
Complete with a glossary, index, and thorough list of resources, What Now? offers the support you need so you can focus more energy on what matters most: grieving your unimaginable loss and regaining your balance in a world without your loved one—a world few understand.
With Dr. Canty lighting your way, you can navigate this storm toward healing and more peaceful waters.
Inspector Gil Hill, head of Detroit Homicide Division, was the first to explain my husband’s indiscretions to me.
Hill bluntly disclosed that Al had led a double life for the previous 18 months in the notorious Cass Corridor (a red-light district in the inner city) using the name “Dr. Miller.”
We were probably broke.
He had been dismembered.
The press had questions.
Hill needed me at the morgue.
In those disturbing minutes, I not only learned truths about my unfaithful husband, I learned truths about life.
Sometimes we know shockingly little about the people we think we know best. And when it comes to marriage there are things known, unknown and known too late.
It verified that when adversity comes, you have three options.
- You can permit it to define you.
- You can permit it to destroy you.
- Or you can channel it to strengthen you.
I vowed then I would not become collateral damage.
What you have before you is a memoir of the darkest days of my life as a widow and so-called homicide survivor.
It is raw and detailed and deliberately subjective.
I want you to hear what I heard, see through my eyes, know what I thought.
A Life Divided will speak for the “invisible” families in the shadows of gruesome homicides who know all too well that headlines, sound bites, formalities, and trials are just the prologue to the story.
Though I can never claim to be unbiased, I rendered the contents as faithfully as possible and relied on many sources beyond my own recollections.
I returned twice to where the events unfolded, interviewed people who had a role, read eleven pounds of court testimony, examined old photos, poured over crispy newspaper articles, and carefully examined old video footage.
I left my redacted life of 30 years to release this account. Healing and insight do not happen overnight.
This memoir will transport you through an extraordinary experience in an otherwise ordinary life.
This is a cautionary tale as well as a true comeback story from a nightmare that never had to happen. The defendants had their say in court.
Now it’s my turn.
A Life Divided
A psychologist's memoir about the double life and murder of her husband - and her road to recovery
The first of course, which I will not delineate, is the story of Al’s descent into depravity, the characters involved and his subsequent horrific consequences. Jan outlines the people involved, ,and their background and personality traits.
Another story, or piece of the puzzle, is Al’s disloyalty towards her, his profession and to himself. How could he turn away from such a beautiful, intelligent and witty young woman and turn towards the depraved? How could he possibly neglect his patients or spend his mother’s life savings on the criminals involved? She explores possible issues, such as his upbringing, and, trouble connecting with others. Although, do not misunderstand me, the consequences he suffered are the direct result of the choices he made, all of which could have been avoided.
The last story however, and by far the most important, is how Dr. Jan Canty came through all of this. She remained tall in character, strong in principle, elegant and upright in her interactions with others. She wrote this book not only for herself, but for others struggling with similar traumas.
This beautiful book, as horrific as it is in many of its details, gives a sense of validation for others, hope for healing and peace for future well being. Highly unusual and shocking for someone who has been through so much. I highly recommend it."
Why I Wrote The Books and What They Mean to Me
These publications were written with the full-on intention of
throwing a lifesaver to other homicide and suicide survivors.
I know too well the feeling of isolation, the struggle to find information, the wish to be understood, the fight to organize and prioritize tasks while searching for crumbs of hope. I felt like a wounded animal separated from the herd in deep, dark fog. (And so have many others who’ve been guests on my podcast.) I want to spare others from experiencing that abyss.
While no two murders or suicides are the same, I gradually understood there are common themes in the aftermath. Support fades. Friendships shift. Bills pile up. Health declines. Sleep is evasive. Anger simmers. Judgement abounds. We often feel let down by the very people and systems we assumed would rush to our side.
By disseminating this information, survivors realize they aren’t alone. They aren’t crazy. It’s not their imagination! Society does not know how to comfort us. Fortunately, we know how to comfort one another.
Another target for writing these books was to dispel myths. Closure is elusive. Arrests have fallen to a flip of the coin (for many reasons). Trials have been eclipsed by plea bargains. We aren’t wanted in the courtroom. Parole boards (where they still exist) don’t seek our input. And don’t even get me started on the exploitation we face from professional and social media.
Last, there is a more personal reason for writing these books: they are my legacy. I want to leave footprints for others in the hope it helps lead them out of the misery and confusion that is the reality of violent loss. If I made it. So can others.