Ruth Picardie was
a British magazine editor who, a scant year after treatment for
breast cancer, ended up leaving behind her career, her husband, her
twins, and her life. She also left behind a witty and altogether
enlightening collection of e-mails to friends and family in which
she documented her illness, as well as the seven columns she wrote
for a British magazine, and assorted essays by her family members.
It is a heart wrenching and altogether Bridget Jones-ish tale of a
woman's last year on this earth. It is a brave and cherished
document of a vital life who waited until the last possible minute
to let go of her life force.
Picardie's writing is so warm and friendly that you find it
difficult to believe that this woman was actually going through the
toughest part of her life, trying to keep in touch with friends and
family and facing the unenviable task of preparing for her death
--- with equal parts hope, denial, and resignation. Clearly, the
woman was a great writer.
There are many
parts of this book that will find you in tears --- the love this
woman has for life, her young age (only 32), her happy family that
is being torn to extremes by her tragedy, will all move you in a
profound way. It is particularly stirring to have her sister and
husband commenting on her travails, as is the inclusion of the
letters Ruth left behind for each of her twins before her death.
BEFORE I SAY GOODBYE may be a small volume but it packs the wallop
of a life well-lived and turned off much too soon.
Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on January 21, 2011