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

Bret Witter, Susan Spencer-Wendel

3 Reviews

Rated 0

Biography: general, Autobiography: general, Memoirs, Prose: non-fiction, Coping with illness & specific conditions, Mind, Body, Spirit

In the spirit of The Last Lecture and Tuesdays with Morrie, a powerfully emotional, inspirational and irrepressibly joyous look at the things that matter most and a celebration of life in the face of death.

What would you do with one last year? Susan Spencer-Wendel was determined to laugh instead of cry.

In June 2011, Susan Spencer-Wendel learned she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) - Lou Gehrig's disease - an irreversible condition that systematically destroys the nerves that power the muscles. She was 44-years-old, with three young children, and she had only one year of health remaining.

She decided to live that year with joy.

She left her job as a journalist and spent time with her family. She built a meeting place for friends in her backyard. And she took seven trips with the seven most important people in her life. As her health declined, Susan journeyed to the Yukon, Hungary, the Bahamas, and Cyprus. She went to the beach with her sons and to Kleinfeld's bridal shop in New York City with her teenage daughter, Marina, for a glimpse of the wedding she will never attend.

She also wrote this book. No longer able to walk or even lift her arms, she tapped it out letter by letter on her iPhone using only her right thumb, the last finger still working.

And yet Until I Say Good-Bye is not angry or bitter. It is sad in parts - how could it not be - but it is filled with Susan's optimism, joie de vivre and sens of humour. It is a book that, like Susan, will make everyone smile.

From a hilarious family Christmas disaster to the decrepit monastery in eastern Cyprus where she rediscovered her heritage, Until I Say Good-Bye is Susan Spencer-Wendel's unforgettable gift to her loved ones and to us: a record of their final experiences together and a reminder that every day is better when it is lived with joy.

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Praise for Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living With Joy

  • A poignant, wise love story. - Kirkus Reviews

  • 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. - Gretchen Rubin

  • 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. ...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. - Publishers Weekly

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