Today I am starting a week long series on the blog, inspired by the book Until I Say Goodbye; My Year of Living with Joy by Susan Spencer-Wendell that I hope you will pick up at your local book store or library.
While all of you were busy dumping ice buckets on your head for ALS, I was reading an incredibly loving, wonderful, heartbreaking story of a mother doing her best to survive with the terminal illness you raised money for. Until I Say Goodbye; My Year of Living with Joy, written by journalist Susan Spencer-Wendel, is the most wonderful and touching memoir, documenting her life and the year that followed her diagnosis with the degenerative disease.
This isn’t a sad book, however you are going to need a few tissues because you will be moved by how much love fills these pages. Susan knows that her time is limited, and she takes action to ensure that she spends as much time as she can with the people who mean the most to her. As an avid traveler, she engages in meaningful and memorable trips with the important people in her life and shares her innermost thoughts and perspective on the journeys with all of us via her still functional thumb typing away in the notes app of her iPhone.
As I read Susan’s book with tears streaming down my face most times (and I am not someone who cries very often), I thought about what I would do if I were in Susan’s shoes. I’m usually a fighter, but in the case of ALS, fighting may speed up a body’s inevitable demise. When you exercise, muscles break down and rebuild stronger, with this disease they break down and don’t rebuild. Like Susan, I wouldn’t want to spend time and energy on experimental treatments or expensive medicines. I’m not the type to take medicine; I cure colds with wonton soup and spicy mustard. Susan accepts her fate with such grace, and tries to live as normally as she can, for as long as her body allows. I think it is beautiful and I hope I would have the strength, courage and wisdom to not fight nature and make the most out of the time remaining as she did. Isn’t that what we should be doing EVERYDAY anyway?
While reflecting on how I would deal if God dealt me the same hand as Susan, I also thought about the people in my life. Given the situation, who would I want to spend my last year with and where would we venture off to? I came up with a few ideas that I am going to share with you over the course of the next week. I think it is a very interesting way to get to know me, a few of the characters in my life and things that I value.
A note for those of you who I know in real life: 1) I am not dying so don’t worry, this is really just a thought provoked post so please don’t worry about me! and 2) If you are not mentioned in the course of the next few associated posts, please do not think that I don’t love you, that you are not important to me, or that I don’t think you are special. YOU ARE! I’m blessed with so many treasured friends and family, who I love dearly. I just mentioned a few that reflect a part of who I am, and would make interesting blog posts for my visitors to read over the course of a week.