I read Julie Yip - Williams book earlier this year and I have never read something so pure, authentic and candid as her account of her terminal diagnosis from cancer. Her memoir started life as a blog, intimately sharing her experiences of her illness with the intention of leaving a legacy behind for her two young daughters Mia and Isabelle. Confronting death honestly sometimes with anger, tears and with humour. This is a book that will stay with you and make you question what it means to be human and how we might find truth, beauty and love in the darkest moments.
Julie’s extraordinary life started in Vietnam, born partially blind. As her story unfolds we discover her dramatic start in life, her will to live, love and to beat all the odds to become a successful lawyer. To create a family of her own only to find out she has stage 4 cancer in her late 30’s. This book is raw, beautiful and heartbreakingly sad. From her wise account of how she navigates through her emotions as a young mother with a terminal illness the reader is left with a sense of the incredible person Julie was. Never fully accepting that she was dying but finding a sense of peace at the end, living fully until then. In her own words..
“When everything is said and done, I ask that all who read and will read this blog and all who know me judge the worthiness and value of my life, whether it was good or bad, based not on the number of days I was on this earth, but rather by how I chose to live and by all that I achieved and produced in my relatively short life. When prompted in a speech class in high school to speak about whether I would choose a life of tremendous successes and tremendous failures versus a more even keeled life, I chose the former and what I chose was given to me. Even as I face my mortality at a premature age, I would make that same choice again and again. I have always believed – and cancer has not changed this – that a life worth living is one imbued with both success and failure, joy and sorrow, relief and suffering, but above all, it must be lived with purpose, passion and courage to not wallow in mediocrity or toil in a pointless job or endure a loveless marriage, but to venture forth and explore the unknown world and enrich the mind and soul, to love completely, to laugh, to embrace wholeheartedly all that life has to offer whether it be glorious or horrendous. These are to me the hallmarks of a good life and the criteria by which I wish my life to be judged” Julie Yip-Williams.