Let me start of by saying – ALS SUCKS.
SUCK – SUCK – SUCK – SUCKS! (Yes, I’m yelling! It’s that bad!)
Almost three years ago, my mother-in-law lost an incredibly short battle with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). I was with her during her final days and hours and let me just say again – ALS SUCKS!!
So… I’ve had I Remember Running, and another memoir about ALS on my bookshelf for almost a year, emotionally not ready to read them.
I was certain I Remember Running would be a heart wrenching story about 33 year-old Darcy Wakefield’s struggle with this horrendous disease. I mean – the title says it all… Add to that her age and that she was super fit and athletic. This was going to be a tough read. Finally, I cracked it open, fully prepared to put it back on it’s shelf after a couple pages. But I read the book in two days, immediately engrossed by the beautiful writing and poignant way Ms. Wakefield approached her story of being diagnosed with ALS. I was refreshingly surprised to find the book to be a heartwarming, uplifting story of accepting the bad but appreciating the good.
My latest YA novel features a supporting character with ALS. For the better part of the first draft, I struggled with the delicate balance of accurately portraying the struggle she faces with ALS, but not having the book be a deeply depressing read. Ms. Wakefield’s memoir gives me exactly the perspective I want to show:
The gift of walking is wasted on so many able-bodied people. – Darcy Wakefield
We should be grateful for the ability to go for a run, button a shirt, brush our teeth, scratch an itch… But more than anything else – live and love your life, because despite what challenges are thrown our way, life is a gift to be cherished.
This is an exceptional book that I urge everyone to read. It will truly make you appreciate all the good in your life.
If you don’t believe me, listen to Darcy’s piece on NPR, which turned into Chapter Seven of her memoir. It’s about Running, and the inspiration behind the title of the book…