BY MARY WICOFF
— If one word can summarize Mary Proctor Reed’s book, it’s “hope.”
“By reading ‘Abused, Conquered, Alive,’” she said, “those who have suffered abuse can find hope and faith again. I’m trying to help people get past their abuse memories.”
The self-published book, which came out in October, is a memoir of the effects of abuse, and the hope that victims might be able to find peace.
Reed, a former Danville resident who lives in Gallatin, Tenn., writes about the different types of abuse she experienced as a child and as an adult. She also chronicles the life she lived as a loving wife and mother.
She explains the forms that abuse can take and how each person can conquer the abuse and take back his or her life.
“The good news is that there is life beyond the abuse, and it is within the reach of each victim,” she said.
Reed was in Danville recently to sign copies of her book. “I was amazed at the number of people who came and wanted me to sign a book,” she said later in a telephone interview.
Reed moved from Danville in 2005, but she has friends and relatives here, including her mother, Flossie Dill of Danville. “She’s proud of me for doing this,” Reed said.
Reed graduated from Danville High School in 1968 and attended Danville Area Community College. She graduated from Lakeview College of Nursing in 1994.
She received a scholarship to continue on to the University of Illinois to become a nurse practitioner. However, her husband, Mike Proctor, a Pentecostal preacher, died from melanoma skin cancer, and she put that dream on hold.
Shortly after her husband’s death, she obtained her bachelor’s degree. As a registered nurse, she ultimately developed a private business caring for terminally ill patients.
With Proctor, she had three children — Mike II, Mary Michelle and Mary Rachelle — who attended Danville schools and graduated with high honors.
Her current husband, John Reed, was director of the parts distribution center at NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc. in Danville. The couple married in 1999 at Ridgeview Baptist Church, and later moved to Tennessee.
In her book, Reed shares poignant memories of Mike and his fight with skin cancer, along with the challenges they faced in their marriage. As a pastor, Mike had to minister to many people while struggling with his disease for 11 years.
Reed takes readers through the last hours of his life and the feelings of shock that took hold of her when she realized he was gone.
The book offers hope to all who have experienced abuse and the understanding that even when we feel conquered, through God’s love we can live and love again, she said.
Reed doesn’t like to dwell on the details of abuse, saying, “Why do I have to be abused all over again just to feed somebody’s curiosity? I want to talk about the good things — things that will bring me life.”
Reed’s interests include studying God’s word and taking part in her personal ministries, and that comes through in her writing. For those who doubt God’s existence, she said, the book may give them a different way of looking at things.
For those who have experienced abuse, she said everyone handles it differently. “A light comes on in your own head,” she said. “You can’t just say ‘get past it.’”
She hopes people reading the book will realize that there is life beyond abuse, and that the book will help people feel alive again.
Another message she hopes to impart is that anyone can succeed if they try. Reed didn’t go to college until she was 40 years old.
Referring to her book, she said, “It will amaze you at how anybody can go from the fear of being homeless to becoming very successful with a good education.”
“Abused, Conquered, Alive” is available at Five Loaves and Two Fish bookstore in Danville, and online from www.BarnesandNoble.com, www.Iuniverse.com and www.amazon.com.
To contact Mary Proctor Reed, call (615) 206-0707.