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SAY WHAT NEEDS TO BE SAID by Janice Anne Wheeler


by Janice Anne Wheeler

Pub Date: May 8th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-09-674453-5
Publisher: Self

In her second memoir, a writer shares her commitment to appreciating each moment, a philosophy strengthened when she returns to New York state to be near her dying father.

Independent, passionate about all things outdoorsy, and devoted to family and friends, Wheeler embraced life’s opportunities and setbacks, determined to have no regrets. Her “Friend Basket” was filled with a diverse assortment of people from around the country with whom she was close. And she was always open to adding someone new. After living out west for about 25 years, Wheeler decided she was ready to shake things up. She sold her catering business in Colorado and headed east: “After a couple of successful careers and not-as-successful relationships that ended, my curvy path led back to the state I grew up in.” That is not where she had intended to land. First, she went to the Florida Keys. New friends and intriguing possibilities kept her on the move. But when her father’s progressive supranuclear palsy, a degenerative disease with neither a cure nor a meaningful treatment, seriously compromised his physical condition, she knew she had to be with him for however much time he had left. She moved into her brother’s house in upstate New York, one mile from where her father and stepmother lived. Wheeler’s time frame vacillates, which sometimes makes it difficult for readers to follow the linear trajectory of her life. But this is a minor complaint. Each vignette or chapter, some as short as a few paragraphs, immerses readers in the emotions of the experience, whether it’s riding the rapids or sitting with her father in a nursing home. Her prose is at once eloquent and conversational; both sharp and gently humorous. There is a fierceness in her important rule—don’t leave until tomorrow what can be said today. The chance may not come again. Despite her obvious grief and anger over watching her father waste away, she was demonstrably grateful to have been there when he needed her. As she shows in these pages, she certainly needed to be at his side.

A poignant and engaging account that features some pithy advice delivered with strength and panache.