The author begins her book with a heartfelt dedication, immediately revealing that her husband did, in fact, lose his battle with cancer. This knowledge makes it both frustrating and admirable to watch Hue put her faith in the seemingly endless treatments, believing that her husband will get better and that their lives will return to normal. It all started with an ominous phone call, in which Paul, an Army translator, informed the author that he had to leave Iraq in order to get a proper medical examination of a lump on his neck. She frantically made a series of calls to loved ones as the reality of the situation set in, and she admitted that she didn’t want him to come home from Iraq under such circumstances. All the while, however, she remained calm for their young son, Tyler, and hopeful that things would work themselves out with God’s grace. Hue describes in straightforward detail the complexities of Paul’s diagnosis and treatment plan, even going so far as to include pages of transcribed conversations between Paul and his doctors. As the situation grows increasingly bleak, Hue’s voice remains composed, optimistic and informative. However, the memoir’s emotional quality is sometimes suppressed by the narration’s sterile tone, particularly in the first few chapters; some readers may find the long passages of clinical language detailing the treatment plans difficult to get through. However, when Hue digs deeper into the devastating details of her husband’s decline (“The nurses said that singing was his way of dealing with the pain, but it was getting harder and harder”), the memoir becomes incredibly moving. This book is particularly recommended for readers who have lost loved ones to cancer and who may be interested in the various coping methods that Hue employed.
An often touching memoir about the pain of loss and the strength one can find in true love.