I must confess, when this book Not Done Yet: A Tale of Transformation Through Transplant Surgery was first brought to my attention, I felt a bit of trepidation, the trepidation that comes from social responsibility. After all, the writer was a neighbor, and reviewing it would be a neighborly thing to do. I thought, “Well, what’s the harm in a short read, a quick compliment, then back to the bedroom for a short nap?” Well, it didn’t turn out quite that way.
As sordid as the subject matter may appear on the surface (a tale of transformation through transplant surgery), the author, Sharon Lamhut Willen, handles it in amazing fashion. The book made me cry, but it also made me laugh: a hard thing to do when writing about our health care system in this country on a social level and about the incredible personal angst one must feel when dealing with the imminent failure of one’s vital organ.
So many rules and regulations, so many forms to file…a forest so thick there seemed no path through it. Yet the grace, strength, and most importantly, the spiritual faith Sharon brought to the battle won her the victory. The ease and eloquence of her writing turned this hard distasteful journey of hers (and her husband’s) into a triumphant mission from which we can all take solace and wonder.
Sharon’s story made me revisit my own story. It made me reflect on how I was handling my own distress, my own disease and dis-ease. Whether it be my Parkinson’s or just my own reflections on aging itself, I thought about how best to embrace it. What there is in this book, is validation. With dedication and diligence, my friend and author found equanimity, and with that tranquility, reaching a near Satori experience in some of her meditations.
And in the end, she proves once again that the love you take is equal to the love you make. And that love is the balm that eases the pain. She documents the process in a striking way in some very dramatic circumstances. She’s made it hard for me to give up, that’s for sure.
The book reveals a tear-filled wonder into what a truly loving couple can do even under the most dire of circumstances. In the end, the book is a story of journey, of discovery. It is not a journey of youthful exuberance about the world, but rather one of an older, wiser, more seasoned toughness. We travel with the author as she leads us along the way to her entrance of grace, in spite of its ineffable way. This is a book well worth your time. I will end by saying, I hope to go through the rest of my life with half as much dignity and grace as Sharon has.
Here is the link to Sharon’s book:
And here is the link to Sharon’s website: http://sharonwillen.com/
This is Nancy Puetz’s first contribution to our blog, and we are happy to have her! Welcome, Nancy, and thank you for this review!