When I read a memoir by a person who is nearing the end of their life, I primarily feel thankful. Not necessarily that I'm alive (though that's there too), but that a person whose time is short has chosen to dedicate a large portion of that time to give us insight into a process that elicits more fear than almost anything.
Julie Yip-Williams started a blog five years ago to share her experience of living with her colon cancer diagnosis. Her writing was later developed into a book, and is being released tomorrow, nearly a year after her death.
There is also a podcast about Julie — a companion to her memoir — that explores her preparations for death (from the practical to the emotional), and a revisiting of her life.
Pineapple Street Media is producing the podcast, titled Julie: The Unwinding of the Miracle. You can listen on Apple Podcasts. An interview with Eleanor Kagan, Producer and Creator of Julie can be found here. Art from Pineapple Street Media.
The book includes a letter to her young daughters — a beautiful portion of which I've excerpted here:
My sweet babies, I do not have the answer to the question of why, at least not now and not in this life. But I do know that there is incredible value in pain and suffering, if you allow yourself to experience it, to cry, to feel sorrow and grief, to hurt. Walk through the fire and you will emerge on the other end, whole and stronger. I promise. You will ultimately find truth and beauty and wisdom and peace. You will understand that nothing lasts forever, not pain, or joy. You will understand that joy cannot exist without sadness. Relief cannot exist without pain. Compassion cannot exist without cruelty. Courage cannot exist without fear. Hope cannot exist without despair. Wisdom cannot exist without suffering. Gratitude cannot exist without deprivation. Paradoxes abound in this life. Living is an exercise in navigating within them.
You can read the full letter on Julie's blog.
If you haven't yet had the chance - here are two other wonderful memoirs written by people as they contemplate their premature death:
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi | Indiebound/Amazon
The Bright Hour | Nina Riggs | Indiebound/Amazon
Are there any other memoirs, blogs, TED talks, podcasts or social accounts written or maintained by someone at the of their life? Please share in the comments.
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