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Until I Say Good-Bye

A Book About Living

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


In June 2011, Susan Spencer-Wendel learned she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—Lou Gehrig's disease—an irreversible condition that systematically destroys the nerves that power the muscles. She was forty-four years old, with a devoted husband and three young children, and she had only one year of health remaining.

Susan decided to live that year with joy.

She quit her job as a journalist and spent time with her family. She built an outdoor meeting space for friends in her backyard. And she took seven trips with the seven most important people in her life. As her health declined, Susan journeyed to the Yukon, Hungary, the Bahamas, and Cyprus. She took her sons to swim with dolphins, and her teenage daughter, Marina, to Kleinfeld's bridal shop in New York City to see her for the first and last time in a wedding dress.

She also wrote this book. No longer able to walk or even to lift her arms, she tapped it out letter by letter on her iPhone using only her right thumb, the last finger still working.

However, Until I Say Good-Bye is not angry or bitter. It is sad in parts—how could it not be?—but it is filled with Susan's optimism, joie de vivre, and sense of humor. It is a book about life, not death. One that, like Susan, will make everyone smile.

From the Burger King parking lot where she cried after her diagnosis to a snowy hot spring near the Arctic Circle, from a hilarious family Christmas disaster to the decrepit monastery in eastern Cyprus where she rediscovered her heritage, Until I Say Good-Bye is not only Susan Spencer-Wendel's unforgettable gift to her loved ones—a heartfelt record of their final experiences together—but an offering to all of us: a reminder that "every day is better when it is lived with joy."

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 18, 2013 – Journalist Spencer-Wendel discovered she was ill when her left hand suddenly became withered. As she struggles to come to terms with knowing something is wrong—not wanting to find out, then not fully believing the doctor's ALS diagnosis—she writes with courage and strength. When she gets the news, the 40-something author is in her prime, blessed with a great reporter job at the Palm Beach Post and loving family. Using benefits from an insurance policy, she quits her job and decides to take trips with her family and friends, so that she can have all of the amazing experiences she's put off and create lasting memories. She goes to the final space shuttle launch with her youngest son, having never been to Cape Canaveral, even though her home is only hours away. A few months later, joined by her best friend, she sees the aurora borealis in the Yukon. It's there that Spencer-Wendel's philosophy plays out, as it does many times more, as she briefly caught the lights before tripping and missing the rest. She is appreciative and grateful for those few seconds and banishes regrets. There are certainly moments of heartbreak that she doesn't shy away from, such as when she goes shopping for bridal dresses with her teenaged daughter, knowing she'll miss any future wedding. Spencer-Wendel's 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.

Customer Reviews

New Update from Susan was Great! She was an amazing lady

What a legacy she leaves behind for her family...truly an incredible gift.

Until I Say Good-Bye

Just beautifully done.

Until I say goodbye

Outstanding! Heartfelt and personal. Took tremendous courage for Susan to have written this novel but what a wonderful gift to her children

Until I Say Good-Bye
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Mar 04, 2014
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 400 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings