This video was played at the launch of 'Blue Widow'
Blue Widow is the harrowing story of Sonya Leeding, whose husband Damian was shot during a botched armed robbery at the Pacific Pines Tavern in Queensland, Australia.
Sonya’s no-holds-barred account of the night of 29 May 2011 and the events that unfolded after this tragedy offer an extraordinary insight into the deeply personal nature of loss and the impact that being in the public eye has on the grieving process.
Blue Widow reveals the real people behind the police uniforms; the mothers, fathers, children, and siblings; and how—in a split second—life can be heartbreakingly and permanently altered.
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REVIEWS AND ENDORSEMENTS
Karl Stefanovic – Media personality
Imagine. Just for a second. An awful harrowing second. Kissing your loved one goodbye. And they never return. Ever. You are left. Alone. Your world breaks. I met Sonya in the days following the death of Damian. How she didn’t simply stop breathing I have no idea. She couldn’t I guess. With two beautiful children. This is the story of how she navigated her way through the darkness. Through that never ending darkness. To the light. It’s a story of a courageous mother. A daughter. A widow. A wife. And a cop. What a read. What a woman.
Moyra Major – Radio personality
Being a Gold Coaster I had heard and saw the tragic story of Damian Leeding's death. I actually went to the funeral, even though I had never met him, Sonya or their family. I think so many of us felt connected in some way to the family, and the tragedy they were enduring. Blue Widow tells the stories we didn't see, the real stories of a strong woman having to endure something she shouldn't have, something unimaginable. Sonya is brutally honest, and that's what makes this book so wonderful and also so inspiring. It shows the behind-the scenes grief of this wonderful woman we met in her worst moment. The minute I started reading it, I could not put it down.
Erika Peacock – Teacher
Strength does not come without stress, love does not come without loss. Sonya has endured more stress and suffered more loss than one should have to endure, yet through it all has shown great strength and felt immense love. Blue Widow, is more then the recount of the loss of the love of her life, Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding. It is the true unabashed recount of a life lived, mistakes made and loves lost. It is raw, real and revealing.
Nicole Montgomery – Human Resources Consultant
A tragedy wrapped in a love story tied up with a ribbon of humour. It has me laughing, crying and swearing in equal parts. A beautiful insight into a family broken by the actions of one night.
Trudy Dalzell – Detective Sergeant SCAN
You see another tragic police story on the news, reports from the scene, pictures of the family and then what?
This is that story behind the news, that grabs you by the heart strings from the very beginning and doesn’t let go throughout. It’s a story of loss, grief and discovery as a police widow fights to comprehend how this could happen to her husband and how she faces the future without him. How she must learn to navigate her own personal journey after an horrific event, as a serving police officer herself, and mother of small children. It is a raw but ultimately uplifting tale of one woman’s fight to forge her own identity and path when her future is suddenly ripped apart.
Karla Bauer – Director
A powerful tale about grief of a wife and mother, and her struggles to get through each day. And sadly, how she lost her identify in the workplace. This tale brought me to tears but shows how strong and resilient Sonya, supported by her family and friends, is.
Born in New Zealand, Sonya Leeding, relocated to Australia with her parents and three siblings in 1987. Sonya grew up in Logan and relocated to the Gold Coast in 2001. After completing a double degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies and a Bachelor of Laws Sonya practiced law for a short time and found her true passion in policing in 2003. She has been a Queensland Police Officer ever since, working at Southport, Runaway Bay, and eventually finding her passion, and fulfilling a lifelong dream becoming a detective with the Child Protection and Investigation Unit.
Sonya was widowed at 32 years old and has had to adjust to life on her own, as a single mother since. Losing her husband has taught Sonya many valuable lessons, but most importantly has allowed her resilience to shine through, which is also evident in her work in the Child Protection Unit. Sonya’s debut book, ‘Blue Widow’ is the journey of how she navigated life as a police officer after love and loss. It is a journey of resilience and the discovery that trusting in yourself can be the very thing that saves you. This story will introduce you to the humans behind the badge.
When Sonya is not protecting vulnerable victim’s, you will find her in mum mode with her two children Hudson and Grace. Sonya has a passion for baking, it soothes her soul. Sonya’s downtime is spent at her local F45 gym or out walking with Labradoodles Elliot and Amalie. Sonya is also a keen camper and with the assistance of her 1968 Viscount vintage caravan, ‘Felicia’ manages to find peace and quiet at new locations around South East Queensland.