Love, Loss, and Moving Forward
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Chapter 1 FAIRY TALE
The moment I reached for my notebook to start working on this book, I was flooded with an emotion that I’ve tried to keep at bay for some time now. It’s a wave of feeling composed of endless tears, reminding me that I haven’t remotely cried enough.
The emotion that washes over me brings the distant past to an instant present. And the details scream out in my mind and heart: every time I pushed down my feelings, every time I smiled when my world was tumbling down around me, and every time I heard a piece of bad news and reacted positively, laughing with mock bravery when I should have been dissolved in tears.
There is a high price to be paid for the privilege of caring for your loved one when he’s dying, but it’s one I wouldn’t have traded for anything. I always said that I’d have plenty of time to cry later. When Patrick first got his diagnosis it looked like he might have only weeks to live. Then it was months. And then, luckily, we passed a year. And we kept going. . . . Twenty-one months is a long time to battle for your loved one against a foe like cancer. It’s a long time to “hold up.” And now, I’ve been spit out on the other side of the fight, alone, trying to figure out how I’m going to go on with my life.
Hot and cold.
Right now I’m running hot and cold.
As I write this in May of 2010, it’s been over six months since I lost Patrick, and right now, at this particular moment, I either despise the bad times he and I had together, or worship the good we had. No in-between.
So, at this particular moment, I worry how can I talk about us, him, in an objective way. One that gives an accurate, albeit can’t-help-but-be-emotional-here-and-there idea of what really happened, who he really was, who I have been, and who I am now. ’Cause I tell you, I am a different person now. One who has been thrown into the fire and forged. One who got stripped of all the nice things that sheltered me from the world, and from myself.
It’s been hard living out here in the cold. I look for a life raft anywhere, and there’s none to be found. No usual anchors to ground me. No more comfortable illusions. But this person I am is real, painful in its growing spurt, the growing spurt that’s happened without my husband . . . but real. And because I am real there are possibilities.
Now, this isn’t the way to start a book, but . . . I guess I’m having an angry day, one of those days that happens sometimes since the loss of my Buddy (“Buddy” was his lifelong nickname). And, yes . . . I guess I am sad.
I think I was hoping to wrap my experience with him up with a nice little bow. And remember it that way. At arm’s length. So, if I seem a little caustic right now, it’s just my attempt to have an arm’s-length view of the story I’m telling. And unfortunately, I know that my being snarky is an attempt to not feel the loss. Because . . . when I talk about him (as I’m doing here) . . . I miss him so much.
© 2012 Troph Productions, Inc.
Lisa Niemi and Patrick Swayze first met as teenagers at his mother’s dance studio. He was older and somewhat cocky; she was the gorgeous waif who refused to worship the ground he walked on. It didn’t take long for them to fall in love. Their 34-year marriage—which they explored together in The Time of My Life—was a uniquely passionate partnership.
Now Niemi Swayze, who started her career as a dancer and went on to act and direct for film, television and Broadway, returns to the written page with a remarkable new account of grief, loss, caregiving and moving on that includes never-before-revealed stories of the final months the Swayzes shared together. Worth Fighting For is a powerful, poignant testament to love.
Hardcover Book : 336 pages
Publisher: Atria Books ( January 03, 2012 )
Item #: 13-503869
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.84inches
Product Weight: 15.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
I just finished reading Lisa's book too and as a Caregiver, I wanted to be there helping. I cried for her loss and pray that she will be renewed by remembering all their life together, especially the good times. It hurts so much now but she is a strong woman. I know, with time, she will heal and remember him with love and wonderful memories. After reading "The Time of My Life", which was a wonderful read, I wanted to find out how Lisa was doing. She wrote "Worth Fighting For" so beautifully. What an amazing gift of herself she gave to, and for, her love, her Patrick, especially in being her own advocate, which is very difficult to do, in taking notes, remembering names, instructions, decision making and doing what was in Patrick's best interest and comfort, while struggling with her own feelings and what was really going on, her eventual loss BUT holding onto every minute as a treasure. For her to even be able to do directing on his Beast series was a good move. She said this gave her a career to have for later on. She was a superb caregiver. He couldn't have had any better, except with Donny. My experience of cancer has been ongoing since I was 14 years old into my adult life - a span of 43 plus years. I've taken care everyone in my immediate family until their deaths. Before my mother died (she was the last), I'd found out that both I, and my younger cousin, had Ovarian cancer. She cried with me. My regret is that she died the day before I'd found out that my cousin and I were in remission - and still are! This book should be read by everyone who has someone, or knows of someone, who has a cancer. Fighting the good fight against cancer is always worth it.
I just finished reading this book and am amazed at how honest Lisa is about her feelings, her loss, how she is coping, and her love for Patrick with its ups and downs. I hadn't realized how much work and sacrifice went into caring for a person with cancer. My first real loss was my mother-in-law who died of ovarian cancer, but I was very young and did not know the immensity of it. I am so sorry for her loss, but they certainly fought hard.
Reviewer: Barbara T
I, too, lost my husband to pancreatic cancer and Lisa told her story from the heart. I lived it, breathed it and know exactly how she felt for my husband was my best friend as Patrick was to her. I had not read "The Time of My Life" beforehand but just received it and know it will tug at my heartstrings as well. A must read for anyone that has been through the cancer battle or lost a loved one to the dreaded disease!
Reviewer: Vicky H
I have enjoyed reading this book. Such a different outlook on the life of Patrick. Good Read
Reviewer: Kimberly I
I have read "Worth Fighting For" and also "The Time of My Life" that Patrick co-wrote with Lisa. Their stories are beautiful-what a love they had for each other that sustained them through the difficult times, which we are all faced with at some point in our life.