Until I Say Good-Bye

A Book About Living

by Susan Spencer-Wendel, Bret Witter

On Sale: 03/04/2014

Until I Say Good-Bye

A Book About Living

by Susan Spencer-Wendel, Bret Witter

On Sale: 03/04/2014


About the Book

Moving and inspirational reflections on life from one woman, diagnosed with ALS, making the most of her final days with family and friends.

In June 2011, Susan Spencer-Wendel was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a disease that systematically destroys nerves that power muscles; Susan, 45 years old and a mother of three, already walks with braces and is losing her ability to speak. Though Susan cannot stop the rapid decline of her body, she refuses to let her life stop before its time. Since her diagnosis, Susan has made sure that every day counts, is more present than ever in her daily life, and ready to share her strength, determination, and spirit.

Susan’s story began growing interest when she published a piece in her local paper about a trip she took to see the Northern Lights following her diagnosis. But this was just the first of many special travels, including a visit to Budapest, where she and her husband spent the first two years of their marriage; a cross-country journey to Northern California to meet her birth mother; and soon a trip to Cyprus, the home country of her deceased birth father, to reunite with the relatives of a man who never knew she existed and return their treasured family Bible.

But one of the most important adventures Susan has planned—the story that drew national attention when mentioned by the Wall Street Journal—will bring Susan to New York City with her 14 year old daughter, Marina. Susan and Marina, both big fans of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, will visit Kleinfeld’s Bridal, where the two can share the experience of Marina’s search for the perfect dress for the wedding Susan will never see. In her own words: “I told her so many times: ‘Baby, we’re going to Kleinfeld’s for your dress one day.’ And I always keep my promises. At least the ones that mean something. . . . I will watch my beautiful daughter walk out of the dressing room in white silk and 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.”

Though the two will not be buying a dress quite so early in Marina’s life, their plans, and Susan’s story have begun to touch people around the world. Universal Studios has acquired film rights, and foreign book rights have been sold in UK, Taiwan, Germany, Italy, Holland, Brazil, Hungary, and Israel, with much more in the works. Susan writes, “I’m beyond thankful so many people can relate to and empathize with our story. I’m glad people are moved. I’m happy Marina and I have stumbled, accidently, on something that crystallizes what it means to be a family, to grow up, to dream, to die, but more importantly to live fully and joyfully.”

BREATHE DEEPLY is a truly magical story and so much more than one woman’s “bucket list.” 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.

Critical Praise

“Susan Spencer-Wendel had to face the question, ‘What would you do if you had a year to live?’ This profound, tender, and often funny account of her experiences will remind readers of what really matters most: love.” — Gretchen Rubin, New York Times-bestselling author of The Happiness Project

“It’s a touching and brutally honest account of one mother’s inspiring attempt to get the most out of the time she has left.” — USA Today

“Her honesty and frustration are underscored with a wicked sense of humor . . .” — ABC News

“All you can do . . . is to turn the pages, slack-jawed, in awe at her insistence on having powerful, individual experiences . . .” — Huffington Post

“This heartbreaking and heartwarming good-bye will make you laugh as much as it makes you cry. Susan Spencer-Wendel’s determination to find the joy in life after having been dealt the ALS card is both inspirational and enlightening.” — Cokie Roberts, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters

“Spencer-Wendel writes with courage and strength. . . . Her life will sadly be cut short, but in writing her story, she shows her family and friends how to go on, choosing happiness and love over fear.” — Publishers Weekly

“. . . almost unbearably moving chronicle of how Spencer-Wendel went about creating lasting moments in that year for the ones she loved . . .” — New York Daily News

“A poignant, wise love story.” — Kirkus Reviews

“The inspirational account of a woman whose ALS diagnosis and subsequent physical decline don’t prevent her from enjoying life to the fullest, which she proves.” — O, the Oprah Magazine

“The tales are painfully honest, and they’re heartbreaking because we know the inevitable outcome. But mostly, they’re inspiring. Spencer-Wendel, even in the darkest of moments, remains insistent on happiness-staggeringly so.” — U.S. News & World Report

“Her heart-ripping book chronicles what she did immediately after her diagnosis: she decided to embrace life while death chased her down..…endearing and all too human” — New York Times

“The mother of three children ages 7 to 15 describes her poignant last efforts to travel the world and stay close to her family and community.” — AARP.com



Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062344212
  • ISBN 10: 0062344218
  • Imprint: Harper Paperbacks
  • On Sale: 03/04/2014
  • Pages: 400
  • List Price:11.99 CAD
  • BISAC3 : HEALTH & FITNESS / Diseases / Nervous System (incl. Brain)

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