I stumbled upon Susan Spencer-Wendel’s soon-to-be released book, Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy early this morning. I haven’t read it yet. It doesn’t come out until next March. Still, I wanted to share because I think we’re going to be hearing a lot more about Spencer-Wendel and her tremendously touching memoir in the coming months.
Spencer-Wendel is a wife, a friend, a daughter, a mother of three and a former journalist living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Her book is about last moments.
ALS is terminal and Spencer-Wendel is rapidly declining.
She created a bucket list and proceeded to cross off items from her list. Spencer-Wendel took several remarkable trips to the Yukon, to Budapest and to Cypress; and she created precious moments for her family to cherish when she’s gone………….. like when she took her 14-year-old daughter to New York City to shop for her future wedding dress.
She writes, “As my beautiful daughter walks out of the dressing room in white silk, I will see her ten years in the future, in the back room right before her wedding, giddy and crying, overwhelmed by a moment I will never share. . . . When my only daughter thinks of me on her wedding day, as I hope she will, I want her to think of my smile when I say to her at Kleinfeld’s, ‘You are my beautiful.’”
By the time the publishing company Harper Collins caught wind of Spencer-Wendel and offered her a book deal, she had lost the use of most of her fingers as a result of the disease.
She wrote the book anyway.
Spencer-Wendel literally typed out her memoir using her right thumb on an iPhone.
She finished her book in just three months.
HarperCollins describes her story as “a powerfully emotional, inspirational and irrepressibly joyous look at the things that matter most… Until I Say Goodbye is the fulfillment of her final wish: ‘To make people laugh and cry and hug their children and joke with their friends and dwell in how wonderful it is to be alive.’”