When All That's Left of Me Is Love

When All That's Left of Me Is Love

by Linda Campanella


Publisher Tate Publishing

Published in Politics & Social Sciences/Sociology, Christian Books & Bibles/Worship & Devotion, Self-Help/Death & Grief, Biographies & Memoirs/Memoirs, Biographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction

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Book Description

When All That’s Left of Me Is Love is poignant and powerful. Linda Campanella provides an intimate look inside her family and her heart as she relives the joy-filled year leading to her terminally ill mother’s death. Heart-wrenching and heartwarming, When All That’s Left of Me Is Love reminds us to cherish loving relationships and each new day. Intensely personal, its themes – love, family, faith, courage, grief – are universal. This beautiful story of bonds that do not break and love that never dies will inspire not only those who face or fear death but also those who love and embrace life.

Sample Chapter

...I didn't have the nerve to show Mom the rewritten obituary until late November. This was a time when Mom was not feeling well and believed she would not live much longer, and she was making clear to us that she would feel unsettled and thus somewhat unnerved until certain "to-dos" relating to her death had been settled and taken care of. The obituary, as well as planning for the celebration of life following her death, needed to be "checked off the list," so I could not avoid what I knew was going to be a very emotional event any longer. I needed to share my draft with her for her review and blessing, because keeping it from her was causing her some anxiety.

My hesitation stemmed in part from my not wanting to be weak or sad in front of her, despite my minister's having assured me it was important for someone in her situation to see us cry, to know and to appreciate that her life means so much to us that we could not imagine being happy without her. I could understand this. Nevertheless, knowing how important it was to her that she remain strong (for my father), I didn't want my weakness to in turn make her weak. It is hard to explain. Fundamentally, I just wanted her to be happy, not sad, in her final days, weeks, months.

My hesitation also reflected my belief that finalizing an obituary was tantamount to accepting the reality of what an obituary reports. While I had accepted the inevitability of my mother's death, I had gone out of my way in the weeks since her diagnosis to help her focus on living, not dying, and I had tried not to believe or suggest, through words or actions, that death was going to happen as soon as she and my father seemed to think. In the days after her diagnosis, my father had sent an e-mail to his nephews in Germany, which he closed by saying, auf Deutsch, "We are hoping for a couple good months." By the end of November, it already had been a couple months.

Late one afternoon, I gave her my draft, explaining that I hoped she would find it acceptable because it was important to me and, indeed, to all her children that people know how deeply she was loved. In those moments together, the tears I had held back in her presence for almost three months flowed freely. I told her how much I loved her and how desperately I didn't want to lose her. In those moments, she shed some of the only tears I saw during what would be a yearlong battle with cancer. I'm not sure I ever felt closer to her--except, perhaps, as death finally approached.

My mother died peacefully at home after an inspiringly courageous fight to live. She did live--one year and one day from her diagnosis. The long goodbye was excruciatingly difficult, but in some ways, our family is so grateful for the year we had; it brought us together in extraordinary ways, and we filled the year with much fun and love. Only in the days following her death did I begin to realize just how courageous and strong she was. She never despaired, was not depressed, shed nary a tear, woke up each morning happy to be with us, and went to bed each night feeling thankful. She did far more living than dying, that's for sure.

As incredible as she was, I am not writing this book to tell my mother's story. I could not do justice to it. For now, I will let the obituary speak for itself. I poured my heart into it and cannot do any better. Rather, this book is about the road we traveled together. It is about how she lived in her last year (right up to her last week), not about how she died. It is about how she and our family managed to enjoy what was described at the celebration of life as "a magical year." It is about being able to say, "I have no regrets." It is about holding on while letting go. If our experience during our last year together can reassure or inspire others who are facing the end of a cherished relationship, then even in death, her generous spirit and big heart will be at work in the world.


Excerpted from "When All That's Left of Me Is Love" by Linda Campanella. Copyright © 2011 by Linda Campanella. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Linda Campanella

Linda Campanella

Linda Campanella considers herself an "accidental author." When All That’s Left of Me Is Love, her first book, was written very soon after her terminally ill mother’s death in 2009 and was published in 2011. The book wrote itself, she says, as her grief poured out from her broken heart, through her fingers, and onto the blank pages of a book she never expected or wanted to write.

View full Profile of Linda Campanella

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