Among Silent Echoes

A Memoir of Trauma and Resilience

By Phyllis Dyson

Categories: Memoir
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781773860640, 224 pages, October 2021

Twenty-five years after her mother's traumatic death made news headlines, Phyllis Dyson is finally speaking out, addressing her own silences, and breaking the cycle of abuse.


Twenty-five years after her mother's brutal death made the headlines, Phyllis Dyson felt compelled to unearth the truth about her mother's illness. By chronicling the events of her childhood, uncovering family secrets and betrayals and gaining access to government documents, Dyson has captured the heart of her family's tragedy in a debut memoir.

From a young age, Phyllis and her brother learned to rely on each other as they dealt with a missing mother, an absent father and a departed grandmother as well as being sent to live with their maternal uncle and his wife, despite their relatives' lack of interest in the responsibility of raising children. Although brother and sister were happy roaming the Cariboo backwoods surrounding their uncle's home, there was always darkness beneath the surface.

When she reached the same age her mother was when she was killed during an altercation with a police officer, Dyson became determined to learn the truth about her mother's fate and the lack of protection extended to her and her brother as children, truths that only deepened her compassion for those struggling with mental illness and for the families that surround them.

Among Silent Echoes is the tender and intimate story of the consequences faced when those who have been given a mandate to protect us do not, and the resilience of one woman who emerged whole from that traumatic world.


  • Short-listed, Journey Book Awards for Overcoming Adversity in Narrative Non-Fiction 2023


"Dyson bares her soul to help us understand how mental health issues affect families. The story of her life from a child to a successful adult shows strength and resilience, and is truly an inspiration."

—Terry Milos, author of North of Familiar

"An affecting and compassionate account of a family profoundly disrupted by schizophrenia. Through detailed stories and anecdotes of family life, Dyson builds tremendous empathy for her mother as a woman who loved her children and did her best to care for them against great odds. The story relates how systemic failures and ignorance led to the tragic outcome of a violent death and a shattered family. Ultimately, however, Among Silent Echoes is a triumphant survival tale and a heartfelt plea to help children and parents dealing with serious mental illness to live productive and dignified lives."

—Donna Motzer, President, Sunshine Coast Branch of the British Columbia Schizophrenia Society