NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK
WITH A NEW AFTERWORD BY THE AUTHOR
UNTIL I SAY GOOD-BYE: My Year of Living With Joy
Susan Spencer-Wendel with Bret Witter
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.
‘This profound, tender, and often funny account of her experiences will remind readers of what really matters most: love.’
Gretchen Rubin, author of Happier at Home & The Happiness Project
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 would 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.
Susan Spencer-Wendel, extraordinary woman and author of Until I Say Good-Bye, passed away in June 2014 after a long battle against ALS.
Here’s a message from her family, posted on Susan’s Facebook page:
‘Susan Spencer-Wendel passed away peacefully this morning at home. Her family is grateful for the love and support of her many friends and fans. Although she was not always able to respond, she loved reading the messages she received from around the world. As was her wish, this page will live on and be updated. Please continue to visit.’
Visit Susan’s page here: facebook.com/UntilISayGoodbye
A note from Lisa Highton, Two Roads Publisher
‘It was an absolute privilege to meet Susan and work with her on her amazing book. She was one of the most joyful and honest people I have ever met, with an enormous sense of fun and an utterly beautiful smile.
Susan was completely thrilled by what was happening with her book worldwide and so interested in people and events around her. She took everything that life had to offer and made every second count – right to the end I’m sure.’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan Spencer-Wendel was an award-winning journalist at the Palm Beach Post for almost twenty years before being diagnosed with ALS at the age of 44. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she held a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida, was honoured for her work by the Society of Professional Journalists and the Florida Press Club, and received a lifetime achievement award for her court reporting from the Florida Bar. Until I Say Good-Bye, her memoir of living with an incurable disease, was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated in over 20 languages. She lived in West Palm Beach, Florida, with her husband and three children.
Bret Witter has collaborated on five New York Times bestsellers. he lives in Decatur, Georgia.