Until I Say Good-Bye by Susan Spencer-Wendel | Book Review

September 18, 2017

I just realized I have few books still pending to be read since Big Bad Wolf last year (my first BBW ever). Most books were around RM10 and that time, I decided to buy more fiction / stories instead of non-fictional that I prefer more - my aim was to improve my creativity and imagination lol. -_-'

So, this will be the first book (from BBW) that I finally finished reading. Told ya, I read many books at one time, still trying my best to finish each of them. :)

Front cover.

Title: Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living With Joy
Author: Susan Spencer-Wendel (with Bret Witter)
Pages: 376
Publisher: Two Roads
Publication Date: 2013
It is about Susan who was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) - a degenerative disease that causes a person to lose muscle ability - from grip, movement and eventually breathing. She had a happy family with her husband John, 3 young children - Aubrey, Marina and Wesley. ALS is a disease said to be more disaster than a death itself. T_T

She tried her best to live the life to the fullest, realizing she had only little time to spend with people she loved. 

It is a true story, anyway. 

Back cover.

There are honestly so many things to ponder from the very beginning of the book till the last page. The story makes my heart beats like a roller coaster, with happiness to see how she accepted the fate, with sadness to see how she changed due to ALS, with excitement about her family, with respect to her husband. :)


1. Acceptance.
Yes, for every changes that we want to make to ourselves, one of the first key is to accept the fact. 

You want to quit smoking? Accept the fact that it is killing ourselves and beloved people around us. 
You want to move on? Accept the fact that you guys are not meant to be together.
Someone's leaving? Accept the fact that you will meet them again, insyAllah.
Someone's leaving eternally? Accept the fact it is time for them.

Easier said than done. YES, I TOTALLY AGREE.

I am honestly still struggling with acceptance. 

"Well, if you can't change the situation, change your attitude." "You are the master of your mind."

But a thing I learned from Susan is to slowly accept it and move on to live the life. We can't do changes to the situation but our attitude towards it. If we want to live the rest of the life in sadness or relief, we choose. 

2. Leaving?

I used to wonder which one is more painful, to leave behind someone we love or the send someone away? 

The survivor will experience the same grief, will live the grief of the children, then must assume the responsibilities and slog on. 

Since I studied far from home since I was in high school, I was always the one leaving. I couldn't put myself yet in that situation when other people leaving - till the day, I sent my parents off at the airport or wave goodbye to my family members, that is even painful. The insecurities of are they going to be safe through out the journey, when will they arrive safely, will there be anything happen on board. Small things like that. 

But, both are painful though. 
I don't usually cry. 
But, once I cried..... 

I love the way how her husband patiently help her after the diagnosis. Read the book to imagine the struggle of John, but he averagely keep being calm most of the times :)

3. No name for that. 

If you followed this blog for a while, my family and I lost our abang long last year, to be exact this 20th will be the first year he left us. 

"And I believe the absolute worst thing that can happen to a human being is to have a child die."
Yes, it is. 

A wife lost a husband.
A son lost a parent.

They are painful. Yes, there are.

We have names for that. 
But if a parent lost a child? 

4. Think about us, but others as well. 
Before we decided on anything, put ourselves first in the decision making. Why? We are talking about the path what we will take, the one we will personally do.

But, don't forget that we still have our family that love us. This is a reminder for myself. There are things I love to do but my parents don't feel good about them. Parents are being parents, cautious parents. 

Keep strong. 

This was when Susan had a suicidal thought. And I adore how she dismissed it. 

5. Remove the want, and you remove the pain.

Sometimes, when we feel ready to something, that something does not come eventually. 

I am not sure about you guys, but for me, things happened when I least expect of it.

That interesting secret. 

I am getting tired of uncertainty of human's plans. 
I still plan, still work my energy and mental hard to achieve it, but I sometimes don't really know when to stop. Is it okay to push myself too much?

Remove the want, and you remove the pain. 
Maybe I should give a try?


Yeah, don't cry. 

This book really encourage me to appreciate all the little things I have in life. From simple gestures of people, to something unimaginable. 

Like a bucket list. 

If you guys are wondering about the author to this day, she passed away on June 4, 2014 at the age of 47 leaving her husband and 3 young children. 

And if we still remember the viral ice bucket challenge, it is actually an attempt to raise awareness of ALS and at the same time, trying to gain as much donation as they can to help with research on ALS cure. 

She was such a strong lady and mum. :)

My rating: ★★★★☆

The book plays around with the dates, time etc. Although I love time travel genre, but it is hard to keep on checking the time of the plot. 

The rest, it is really a nice book to read. Emotional one. 

SS, Perak, Malaysia

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