Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy

Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy

4.5 90
by Susan Spencer-Wendel
     
 

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Susan Spencer-Wendel’s Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy is a moving and inspirational memoir by a woman who makes the most of her final days after discovering she has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

After Spencer-Wendel, a celebrated journalist at the Palm Beach Post, learns of her diagnosis of ALS, more commonly known

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Overview

Susan Spencer-Wendel’s Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy is a moving and inspirational memoir by a woman who makes the most of her final days after discovering she has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

After Spencer-Wendel, a celebrated journalist at the Palm Beach Post, learns of her diagnosis of ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, she embarks on several adventures, traveling toseveral countries and sharing special experiences with loved ones. One trip takes Spencer-Wendel and her fourteen-year-old daughter, Marina, to New York City’s Kleinfeld’s Bridal to shop for Marina’s future wedding dress—an occasion that Susan knows she will never see.

Co-written with Bret Witter, Until I Say Good-Bye is Spencer-Wendel’s account of living a full life with humor, courage, and love, but also accepting death with grace and dignity. It’s a celebration of life, a look into the face of death, and the effort we must make to show the people that we love and care about how very much they mean to us.

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Editorial Reviews

Cokie Roberts
“This heartbreaking and heartwarming good-bye will make you laugh as much as it makes you cry. Susan Spencer-Wendel’s determination to find the joy in life after having been dealt the ALS card is both inspirational and enlightening.”
Gretchen Rubin
“Susan Spencer-Wendel had to face the question, ‘What would you do if you had a year to live?’ This profound, tender, and often funny account of her experiences will remind readers of what really matters most: love.”
USA Today
“It’s a touching and brutally honest account of one mother’s inspiring attempt to get the most out of the time she has left.”
Huffington Post
“All you can do . . . is to turn the pages, slack-jawed, in awe at her insistence on having powerful, individual experiences . . .”
the Oprah Magazine O
“The inspirational account of a woman whose ALS diagnosis and subsequent physical decline don’t prevent her from enjoying life to the fullest, which she proves.”
ABC News
“Her honesty and frustration are underscored with a wicked sense of humor . . .”
New York Daily News
“. . . almost unbearably moving chronicle of how Spencer-Wendel went about creating lasting moments in that year for the ones she loved . . .”
U.S. News & World Report
“The tales are painfully honest, and they’re heartbreaking because we know the inevitable outcome. But mostly, they’re inspiring. Spencer-Wendel, even in the darkest of moments, remains insistent on happiness-staggeringly so.”
New York Times
“Her heart-ripping book chronicles what she did immediately after her diagnosis: she decided to embrace life while death chased her down..…endearing and all too human”
AARP.com
“The mother of three children ages 7 to 15 describes her poignant last efforts to travel the world and stay close to her family and community.”
O: the Oprah Magazine
“The inspirational account of a woman whose ALS diagnosis and subsequent physical decline don’t prevent her from enjoying life to the fullest, which she proves.”
Publishers Weekly
Journalist Spencer-Wendel discovered she was ill when her left hand suddenly became withered. As she struggles to come to terms with knowing something is wrong—not wanting to find out, then not fully believing the doctor's ALS diagnosis—she writes with courage and strength. When she gets the news, the 40-something author is in her prime, blessed with a great reporter job at the Palm Beach Post and loving family. Using benefits from an insurance policy, she quits her job and decides to take trips with her family and friends, so that she can have all of the amazing experiences she's put off and create lasting memories. She goes to the final space shuttle launch with her youngest son, having never been to Cape Canaveral, even though her home is only hours away. A few months later, joined by her best friend, she sees the aurora borealis in the Yukon. It's there that Spencer-Wendel's philosophy plays out, as it does many times more, as she briefly caught the lights before tripping and missing the rest. She is appreciative and grateful for those few seconds and banishes regrets. There are certainly moments of heartbreak that she doesn't shy away from, such as when she goes shopping for bridal dresses with her teenaged daughter, knowing she'll miss any future wedding. Spencer-Wendel's life will sadly be cut short, but in writing her story, she shows her family and friends how to go on, choosing happiness and love over fear. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Diagnosed at age 45 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), Spencer-Wendel plunged into a live-each-day-fully whirlwind that has already made news (she was spotlighted in the Wall Street Journal, and the film rights to her story have been acquired for $2.5 million). Here she recounts trips to the Yukon to see the Northern Lights, for instance, and to Northern California to meet her birth mother. Most telling, she shops in New York with her 14-year-old daughter for the wedding dress she won't live to see her daughter wear. Foreign rights have been sold to nearly 20 countries, and the first printing is 250,000 copies.
Kirkus Reviews
With the assistance of Witter (Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him, 2011, etc.), crime reporter Spencer-Wendel chronicles her life and the decisions she has made since being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a wasting disease that progressively causes loss of control of voluntary muscle movement. In her mid-40s and a happily married mother of three with a thriving career, the author rejected the option of assisted suicide in favor of making her last years memorable despite the inevitability of increasing disability. Although not believing that her death would ruin the lives of her husband and children, she understood that it might "affect their ability to live with delight. To live with joy." Spencer-Wendel was determined to overcome her dread of losing mobility and to live her life to the fullest even as the disease progressed. As inspiration, the author found solace in Lou Gehrig's 1939 farewell speech, in which he described himself as "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth, even after 'catching a bad break.' " The author decided to spend her remaining time to travel to places she longed to see, taking friends and family with her. In this way, she left them a legacy of joyfully shared memories. One of the more difficult decisions she made was not to hoard her remaining good health. She determined that she would not search out experimental programs, nor even spare herself physical strain, even though traveling took a further toll on her mobility. Each of the trips more than met the author's expectations: a visit with her son to swim with dolphins, shopping in New York with her daughter and a journey with her husband to Romania, where they lived for the first two years of their marriage. A poignant, wise love story.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062253453
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/26/2013
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
436
Sales rank:
1,187,961
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

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