Most of us have heard about the book ‘The Last Lecture’ by Randy Pausch where he writes his account of the battle with pancreatic cancer. But have any of us read the memoir by his wife Jai Pausch?
I was fortunate enough to accidentally lay my hands on this book when the Landmark bookstore was about to close down and hence I got a deal…five books for 200 bucks!
It is just the right book for the caregiver of a terminally ill patient. We always feel sad for the dying person but how often do we realise the emotional trauma a spouse goes through in such a depressing period. The patient needs constant care due to the illness and also psychological support to accept the approaching death. Jai Pausch had to not only support her dying husband but also look after her three children, the eldest being just four and a half years when her husband’s illness was discovered. Jai was constantly juggling between chores, dealing with grief, trying to maintain her sanity and fighting to preserve a sense of stability for her family.
This memoir is frank, deep moving and inspiring. Jai opens her heart when she documents her pain, stress, loneliness, grief, healing and later a new found independence. She shares not only her traumatic times but also her will to move on in life.
Fortunately for her, she didn’t have to go back to work after the death of her husband. She could stay home with her children. She has learnt to maintain a healthy balance between the children’s needs and her own.
She continued to support pancreatic cancer education and research but more importantly she worked to foster awareness about the needs of caregivers. She had seen the lowest times in her life but that did not stop her from dreaming. And in the end she inspires each one to ‘Dream New Dreams’
“Life is a precious gift, and I don’t intend to waste a day of it. Have I experienced tragedy? Yes, I have. But it would be another real tragedy if I didn’t recover from the sadness I have felt and thus missed many happy moments along the way. Was my dream crushed? Yes, it was. And that will happen again. But when it does, I will pick up those pieces and create something new. I will always dream new dreams.”Jai Pausch