Praise for When All That’s Left of Me Is Love
—award-winning story of a motherless daughter’s journey through grief to gratitude—
In a clear and eloquent voice, Linda Campanella shares with us her final journey with her mother, who is terminally ill. This book, conceived in love and written as witness and testimony, offers us in the healing professions a rare opportunity to observe and experience the meaning of the phrase ‘a good death.’ Both mother and daughter understand that dying, like being born, is in the nature of life’s journey and is to be shared with those we love.
– James A. Block, M.D., recipient of the inaugural (2009) American Cancer Society Pathfinder in Palliative Care Award, and former president and chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Health System and the Johns Hopkins Hospital
When All That’s Left of Me Is Love is a lovely, lyrical work. Linda Campanella writes with fierce and loving honesty as well as wise generosity about the most significant of all family relationships. Her words are not only meaningful; they are illuminating.
– Dr. Gina Barreca, author of It’s Not That I’m Bitter, and Professor of English, University of Connecticut
This is a daughter’s detailed account of her mother’s last year of life in the face of terminal cancer, and her family’s determination to make every moment matter. The book serves not only as an example of coming to terms with significant loss, but also as a model for caregivers looking to embrace and focus on living and loving as much as dying and letting go. Clearly the author is a living example of the legacy of gratitude and love she inherited from her mother, and her book is a glowing reflection of that love. An uplifting and inspiring read.
– Marty Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, DCC, Bereavement Counselor and Author
When All That’s Left of Me is Love tells of one family’s journey through the experiences of a mother’s final illness and death as recollected and reconstructed by her daughter. But this is no dry, clinical chronicle or collection of simplistic counsel. Rather, it is an unflinching, revelatory, inspirational reflection on the uniqueness of the most common of final stories in our shared humanity. It eloquently illuminates how the bonds of love ennoble the smallest actions and greatest sacrifices – a balm for the wound of loss which endures beyond our grief and allows healing memory.
– Robert A. Milch, MD, medical director, emeritus, at The Center for Hospice and Palliative Care in Buffalo, NY, and recipient of the inaugural Hastings Center–Cunniff-Dixon Foundation Physician Award for lifetime service in palliative care and hospice
Linda Campanella offers her readers a wise, tender, and heartfelt account of her mother’s last year of life and her family’s participation in it. When All That’s Left of Me Is Love is a brave and self-revealing gift from its author: one daughter’s journey of hope and grief and deep, deep love for her mother.
Throughout the book Linda records exchanges, describes the events of the days and reveals the plots and plans to help her mother live to the fullest during her remaining days. She found simple things that helped provide order and some sense of control as the days of unknowing turned into weeks and then months of fragile promises for more good days ahead. Through the use of actual email exchanges, Linda’s voice, her mother’s and siblings’ voices, as well as those of friends and caregivers, rise from the pages of this beautiful reflection.
When All That’s Left of Me Is Love is a story about learning to let go gracefully while staying in touch completely. Readers will be inspired by a heartbroken family’s determination to help a loved one live in the midst of dying. While the book is a detailed portrayal of the author’s personal experiences with death, it is also a universal story. I plan to include it in my course on “Love through the Seasons of Death.”
This book is truly a testament of love, as the title suggests. It is about love refined and deepened by grief and gratitude. It is a tribute to a mother who loved with her last breath and beyond. It is the story of a daughter who gives herself away through the gift of her pen.
– Sharon G. Thornton, Ph.D., Professor of Pastoral Theology at Andover Newton Theological School
This book provides a candid and insightful account of the lived experience of illness and reminds us of the limitless power of love. Readers feel the strength of family and spousal bonds which help Nan, Eck and their children to accept a terminal diagnosis and then continue on to celebrate each moment left to live. For weeks, months, indeed a year and a day, the family learns to adapt and respond to crises with the imagination and determination they learned from Nan herself. Her lack of self-pity and generosity of spirit are beautifully portrayed in her own words and through those of her loving daughter Linda. I found myself hoping for another family reunion in the summer cottage, a dignified and easy parting and the final loving legacy of sharing grief and sorting through a lifetime of comforting memories.
As an oncologist, I’m often left wondering how my patients live their ‘real’ lives outside of my office, how they fill their days and what they talk about and hope for. Linda Campanella filled in those blanks and provides readers with a menu of creative and loving solutions for passing the hours, when all we can do is keep company and celebrate that we are still alive and together.
– Lidia Schapira, MD, staff oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School
When All That’s Left of Me Is Love will take you on a journey into the heart and soul of healing care. It is personal and profound with a simple language a grieving heart can embrace during the most difficult time of life. It is a book that should be on the shelves of anyone facing loss.
– Rev. Sam Oliver, author of Angel of Promise and contributing writer for Healing Ministry Journal, The Journal of Terminal Oncology, and The American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care
This book is a wonderful account of the final year and one day of the author’s mother’s life. The chapters entitled ‘Calendars’ and ‘Happy Hour’ are brilliant. I noted several places in the manuscript that I found especially beneficial to readers, including p. 73, the paragraph beginning, ‘Each time Mom did something adventurous…’ At the top of page 116, I simply wrote, ‘I cried.’ Linda Campanella offers hope and comfort to those facing a terminal illness by providing a sense of presence and purpose during her mother’s illness.
– Matthew Binkewicz, author of Peaceful Journey: A Hospice Chaplain’s Guide to End-of-Life