In this debut memoir, a seasoned newspaper columnist details her struggles to overcome a series of tragedies that upended her life.
Galli, born in the late 1950s, was raised in a close, loving family. The daughter of a well-respected North Carolina Baptist minister, she was the first of three children: her brother, Forrest, and sister, Rachel, quickly followed. The family ate, played, and prayed together. Life was orderly, predictable, and happy—until Labor Day weekend, 1978, when Forrest was killed in a water skiing accident. Galli writes: “The gaping hole in our tightly woven fivesome was too large for us to mend for each other. So we splintered, each taking a different path to heal.” This was only the first challenge to the author’s carefully designed life plans. In 1981, she married Joe: “We were two Type A’s ready to join forces to see what we could accomplish. Together. Forever.” Their first child, Brittany, was born in June 1987: “The timing was perfect, just as planned.” Things would not continue to go as expected. Of Galli’s next five pregnancies, one ended in a miscarriage and two produced special needs children. The strain of Joe’s very successful career and the child care demands that kept the author at home brought the marriage to a breaking point. In 1997, they divorced. Only nine days later, she contracted a “one-in-a-million” virus that would leave her permanently paralyzed from the waist down. In her poignant and courageous book (which includes many photos), Galli pulls no punches, as she chronicles her emotional journey through a life that had to be totally restructured. Rage, tears, frustrations, denial, and doubts spill from the pages through articulate, conversational prose. (An experienced writer, Galli has produced hundreds of columns for the Baltimore Sun.) She shares all the difficulties she faced in this book, including the intimate complexities of her new reality—bathroom complications, the dangers of unfelt skin abrasions, and mysterious pains where there are no other sensations. Acceptance was slow in coming: “Letting go of dreams was loss, just as real as the loss of the use of my legs.” But fierce determination lifts the narrative tone: “Life isn’t about what you’ve lost, but about what you’ve learned—and what you do with what you have left.”
A touchingly honest, pleasantly sarcastic, and thought-provoking account that focuses on resilience.