This book is a short and quick read. The author of this book talks about several of her major life events. Her arms sometimes can’t feel things, and there wasn’t any explicit treatment that worked; yet her arms inexplicably recovered. She experienced some difficulty in getting pregnant, yet eventually got a son and was living a happy life. Last but not the least, she was diagnosed cancer, and life became especially difficult for her. All her doctors thought the chance wasn’t very promising, and with help from colleagues, she was able to enter into a clinical trial of a premarket treatment. For that, she needs to fly to Atlanta every Wednesday, stay in hospital for most of the day, and then fly back and only reach home late at night. The clinical trial provides no guarantee that her cancer will be cured, and she has to renew every two months to continue to be in the program. At the end of the book, the author only reveals that she’s still alive, and she was notified of another two month session in the clinical trial. She doesn’t know what is going to next for her, but life must continue.

Just as what happened to the author, each and everyone could have disasters happening to him/her without any signs. A perfectly happy life could turn to turmoil with just a simple unexpected change, not to mention that three such things happened to the author in a row. This must have been the worst roller-coaster one could ever experience in life. Down, up, down, up, and down again. Life is hard, unpredictable, and sometimes can be catastrophic. It may or may not be the way your god has intended for you (whichever god you believe in), but no matter what, you must carry on, to battle whatever is there in life. Be optimistic. Smile, always.

In the appendix of this book, the author listed things to do and not to do, when speaking to people in terrible times. There might be some cultural difference, so that I did do not understand all of these little gems, but quoting them here would probably be helpful later.

Do not say:

  • Well, at least …
  • In my long life, I’ve learned that …
  • It’s going to be better, I promise.
  • God needs an angel.
  • Everything happens for a reason.
  • I’ve done some research and …
  • When my aunt had cancer …
  • So how are the treatments going? How are you really?

Try these:

  • I’d love to bring you a meal this week. Can I email you about it?
  • You are a beautiful person.
  • I am so grateful to hear about how you are doing, and just know that I am on your team.
  • Can I give you a hug?
  • Oh, my friend, that sounds so hard.
  • … (silence) …