I don’t know how to start my review of this book. I know that there are certain things that I have taken away from this book that will never be forgotten. I know that this book reminded of the simple pleasures in life. I know that this book grounded me in the idea that we must make sure to spend time where most important. I know that I am going to try my best not to spend so much time on things that are not as important as I make them out to be. I know that I wish I could have reminded myself of these things without having to read about the courageous battle of a six year old girl named Elena who had a cancer that had no cure.
This book is the journey of Elena. I know there has been a lot of press about Elena and her battle with the tumor in her brain, but this book touched me on a level that no other book has been able to do. The only other book that has come close was Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and that book reached out to me as I read this book around the time my former basketball coach, teacher, neighbor, and good mentor passed away in his sleep. Notes Left Behind is probably one of the only books that caused my eyes to tear up a little. I have a 3 and 5 year old daughter and son and as I read this book I could not imagine either one going through this ordeal. Additionally, I was able to connect to so many things the mother and father wrote down in their journal about their thoughts and emotions as well as the characteristics of both of their children.
I knew this would be a tough read for me right away when in the first few pages one of the passages read, “Now she has a limp in her right leg, no gag reflex, limited ability in her right arm, loss of left-eye peripheral vision and reduced sensation in her legs. I know this because in an attempt to raise a smile, I tried to tickle the most ticklish part: her knees……..Now she simply looks at me with annoyance……For a dad, it’s always about more than horseplay – it’s a way of expressing my love.”
There are several passages where I just had to put the book down and reflect on my life, my family, and how fortunate I have things.
I really recommend this book. Even if you don’t have children this book will find a way to your heart on some level and remind you that life is too short to worry about things that are not important. This will be book that I will be talking about for quite some time.
There are many interview video clips as well as tons of other information about Elena and the organization her parents are working hard at to raise awareness and money. Just do a search and you will be busy for days if interested in learning more. Here is the website for the book. Start here to begin the journey.