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

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

Susan Spencer-Wendel, Bret Witter

Language: English

Pages: 400

ISBN: 0062241478

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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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you, I would probably drive myself into a tree.” “I have thought of that,” I said. “Please don’t.” “I won’t. Because the children would never understand.” “Good.” “Absent that, I would free you of this burden.” “It is not a burden,” John said. “The least I can do for you is everything.” He lifted me from the tub, dried me, combed out my snarled hair, fastened my bra. “This is the one I hook on the loosest notch, right?” “You are getting good at this!” I smiled.

raven-haired Greek beauty mother. No amount of Greek lessons, or performances of Greek traditional dances in little Greek outfits, would help. No amount of studying the Greek language with a bristly woman named Ms. Karadaras, who would pinch my ears if I didn’t concentrate, would satisfy Theodora “Tee” Damianos. I just didn’t look the part. I was explaining this dynamic to a friend recently. It was something I had accepted years ago, but suddenly Stephanie, sitting beside me, started

“From college, you know.” As I said, an operator. Avraam is a business engineer. Here’s how he explains this in his e-mail signature line: “BUSINESS ENGINEERING involves industrial & environmental management, innovation management, entrepreneurship, marketing engineering, services management, operational research, econometrics, global strategy and leadership, management science, business administration, finance, economics, mathematics, social science (ethics and law).” And as Avraam

letters he had written to her. I cringe now, thinking of how nervy this was: I was asking to see their most private communication. I never saw them. But oh! what I did see. Barbara brought out newspaper clippings of Panos’s many accomplishments at the Mayo Clinic. Stories of patients saved. Awards won. Books written and charities supported. We sat in her fancy living room, with near floor-to-ceiling windows all around, both of us reading the articles. It was so sunny, I squinted

Backyardigans episodes, but he rarely expressed emotion, love, or affection for anything aside from his little stuffed Piglet. Hugging him was much like hugging a tree. “You have to find a way into his world,” the doctor had said when she diagnosed him. We live close to a small zoo. For years, it had been Wesley’s favorite outing. The animals didn’t require him to look them in the eye or order him around. He drew humans as stick figures with bubble heads, but even at six years old he

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