I was recently provided with an advance copy of a new book Beautiful Me by one of my colleagues. It’s “an inspirational story told through the eyes of Emily Wooddin – an astute, dignified child who died from an aggressive form of cancer at the age of nine.”
A bit of back story, a few years ago, this same colleague (Emm – short for Emily) approached me. Our organisation (New Zealand Home Loans) was fundraising for the Child Cancer Foundation during their appeal month of March. Emm had clients who had recently lost their daughter, Emily to child cancer and she was going to shave her head to raise money for CCF and in memory of Emily, and wanted to know if I wanted to do it with her (being an Emily as well). So I did. And together we raised nearly $12,000 for CCF.
I must add a disclaimer at this point: at the time of reading this book I was/am in my third trimester of pregnancy, plus, I have a little girl who is not too dissimilar in age to Emily when she was diagnosed. As a result, I cried A LOT while reading this book (I’m naturally a crier anyway and pregnancy hormones sure did not help). However having said that, for the most part, this is not a sad book. It is told through the eyes of Emily and is very down to earth and matter of fact, as children of that age tend to be.
She talks about the cancer journey and the treatment itself and the effects it has both on her and her family but also goes deeper than that and looks at how the journey changes and strengthens relationships and the grief processes that those around her go through. It was an insightful and eye opening book, and while it was rough (for me) reading it knowing that it didn’t have a happy ending, I’m really glad I did. Beautiful Me is a wonderful way for this beautiful child to live on in the hearts and minds of those who knew her, and those like me, that didn’t but have come to through this book.
Death ends a life, not a relationship
– Mitch Albom, Tuesday with Morrie