Recipient of the 2012 Nautilus Silver Award, 2012 Living Now Book Award gold medal, 2012 Readers Favorite silver medal, 2011 Reader Views Literary Award 1st-place honor in two categories, & the Life Journeys Award for Best Memoir or Biography; also a 2013 Indie Excellence Book Awards finalist
WHEN ALL THAT’S LEFT OF ME IS LOVE
A Daughter’s Story of Letting Go
My story — one that resonates especially powerfully with other motherless daughters coming to terms with their loss and grief — is a combination of retrospection and reflection on the year and a day between my 73-year-old mother’s devastating diagnosis (terminal metastatic lung cancer) on September 8, 2008 and her death at age 74 on September 9, 2009. The seeds of a story began sprouting in my mind almost immediately after my mom’s death. Unable to resist the impulse to write, I started putting words to paper on October 26, two days after what would have been her 75th birthday, and finished on December 17, in time to give a bound copy of the completed manuscript to my father for Christmas.
Though born of death, my story is much more about living (how we choose to live) than about dying. The book focuses, as I did with unwavering determination during that last year with my mother and best friend, on ways to ensure each new day would be one she’d look forward to because of the joy it could bring, rather than one to fear because it would mean she was one day closer to her final day. I did not want her to stop living while she waited to die. I also understood that, although I could do nothing to stop her from dying, there was much I could – and must – do to help her keep living. It became my self-appointed mission to inject as much living and loving and laughter into each and every day she had left. For reasons and in ways that come to life in the book, my mother made this relatively easy to do.
When I finally decided to write this book that already was writing itself as I lay awake many nights following my mother’s death in September 2009, I also decided to tap my email files as a memory-jogging source of facts to buttress the story that was taking form in my head. All the re-read emails returned me to the moments in which I had written or read them, and this time travel brought me face to face once again with the intense emotions of those moments. The more I read, the clearer it became that these emails needed to be an integral part of the story itself; if they were shared verbatim, instead of cannibalized for details, readers could live what I was reliving; by allowing them to hear our voices and imagine what it would have been like to be one of us, I could put readers “in the moment” themselves. The interweaving of “real-time” accounts of events and emotions makes this story especially powerful and arguably quite unlike any other personal narrative recounting a family’s journey from death sentence to death or a daughter’s journey through paralyzing grief to profound gratitude.
Ultimately, despite the sad topic and the heavy heart with which I wrote, When All That’s Left of Me Is Love is an uplifting, hopeful, affirming book. It is about love, faith, family, courage and gratitude. It also is an affirmation of the special bond between mothers and daughters, a touching love story, a spiritual journey, a poetry lesson, even a case for happy hour. It’s about coming home to live rather than coming home to die, learning to cry, letting go, holding on, connecting, believing in what is possible, resolving to stay in the moment, making magic.
When All That’s Left of Me Is Love is not a how-to guide but rather is a loving tribute and an intensely personal memoir that offers insights and inspirations that are proving helpful to others who face death — either their own or their mother’s or that of any loved one — or who are dealing with loss and grief. It will, I hope and believe, move and inspire not only those who face or fear death but also those who love and embrace life.
Thank you for your interest in the book.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO LINDA’S INTERVIEW WITH HLN’S DR. DREW, APRIL 2013
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO LINDA’S INTERVIEW WITH DR. JACKIE BLACK ON INTERNET TALK RADIO, APRIL 2013
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO LINDA’S INTERVIEW WITH BOOK GOODIES’ DEBORAH CARNEY
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO LINDA’S ON-AIR INTERVIEW WITH MARY JONES, HOST OF THE MARY JONES SHOW (WDRC-AM1360), 9/30/2011