Twenty-seven year old Daisy Richmond is a student, a wife, a daughter, and a breast cancer survivor. She is gearing up for her "Cancerversary" when a routine follow-up reveals that the cancer is back. She has four months. The news stuns her in a way that takes your breath away. Her husband, Jack, is just months away from graduating from vet school and Daisy has chosen that to be her point of focus. Jack's graduation. As he buries himself in work Daisy tries to make his life as easy as possible so that he can make it to that graduation date. She enlists the help of her best-friend, Kayleigh for such tasks as going to the funeral home. Oh and finding Jack his next wife. .She thinks she may have the perfect woman for him chosen, Pamela and finds that Pamela shows up in their lives in the most unexpected places. As the days slip away Daisy becomes more symptomatic and she finds herself becoming more confused, hurt, and afraid. She wants Jack to find happiness once she is gone, but she wants him to remain by her side until she is gone. Will having Pamela come into their lives ruin the rest of her life?
There are very few people in this world who has not had a loved one stricken by this horrible, horrible disease. Cancer is one of those indiscriminate diseases that can strike people of any age, any walk of life. Colleen Oakley tackles the topic in Before I Go. Daisy and Jack are a busy young couple, they may be overachievers, but they have goals and dreams. When Daisy gets the news that the cancer is back it is easy to get caught up in the myriad of emotions that nearly swallow Daisy whole. The shock, the disbelief that Daisy feels is so gripping that it made my stomach hurt with fear and anxiety. Most of the book is Daisy walking around in almost a daze as she tries to process the fact that she will not be here. Sometimes those feelings manifest themselves in less than constructive ways, like fighting with her best friend, Kayleigh or going for days without speaking to her husband. It is just one way the author address the complexities that come when you find out that you are dying. It is tough to read. And more tough to live, I imagine.
Bottom line, a few weeks before Christmas a colleague of mine shared with our team that his thirty-one year old wife has a recurrence of breast cancer. It has spread and it can not be cured. I read Before I Go with them and their four year old son on my mind. It made the story even more real to me as I tried to imagine those emotions and feelings that my friend and his wife are going through. Before I Go may be tough for some people to read, but most definitely worth the read for anyone who has a loved one in the fight for their life.