Before I Go by Colleen Oakley is about Daisy who had breast cancer four years ago and she has just received the results of her recent cancer checkup. Daisy’s cancer has come back and this time she has been told she might live for 6 months. Just in time to see her husband Jack graduate from veterinarian school.
Daisy is a list maker. She puts everything on a list. She has a list for everything that needs to be done with their old house and a list for what she needs to do for school. One of those items is to find Jack a new wife so he won’t be left alone once Daisy is gone. When she was 20, Daisy made a list of what she would do if she had months to live. Seven years later, her list has changed. I think my list of what I would do if I had a few months to live hasn’t changed. I would want to either be in a hammock on the beach or in a small house in Tuscany, Italy. Somewhere quiet where I can die peacefully with a beautiful surroundings.
This hit a little close to home for me. I’m an 8 year breast cancer survivor. I was lucky that the cancer had clear margins and didn’t go to my lymph nodes like Daisy, so there is a 99% chance it won’t come back. Daisy is a confident person who just wants to make sure everything is in order once she is gone, especially making sure her husband is okay and taken care of. She thinks he needs someone to take care of him because he can’t even remember to pick up his socks that pile up next to the bed. I think this is only a distraction for her from the cancer and dying because she doesn’t want to come to terms with dying and not getting to do what she wants, like have a child.
When I read the part where Daisy tells her Mom I cried because I couldn’t tell my parents that I had cancer. I had one of my sisters call because I knew telling them that their youngest daughter, their baby had breast cancer would break my heart as I knew I would be breaking their hearts. When I called my husband to tell him I was hyperventilating and he couldn’t understand me. He thought I had been in an accident.
I really liked Daisy and Jack and her friend Kayleigh. I thought Daisy and Jack had a great relationship and it was sad to see her try to ruin their relationship by pushing him away for the last few months she was alive. I wanted to reach in and shake Daisy. Remind her that what she has with Jack is something special and that she needs to spend what time she has left with Jack as much as possible.
Even if you haven’t had cancer like me, this is well worth the read. The reader is pulled right into the lives of the characters and will care for Daisy and Jack. Daisy is a great character. While reading, I wished that Daisy and Jack could live a long and healthy life together.
Twenty-seven-year-old Daisy already beat breast cancer four years ago. How can this be happening to her again?
On the eve of what was supposed to be a triumphant Cancerversary; with her husband Jack to celebrate four years of being cancer-free, Daisy suffers a devastating blow: her doctor tells her that the cancer is back, but this time it’s an aggressive stage four diagnosis. She may have as few as four months left to live. Death is a frightening prospect; but not because she’s afraid for herself. She’s terrified of what will happen to her brilliant but otherwise charmingly helpless husband when she’s no longer there to take care of him. It’s this fear that keeps her up at night, until she stumbles on the solution: she has to find him another wife.
With a singular determination, Daisy scouts local parks and coffee shops and online dating sites looking for Jack’s perfect match. But the further she gets on her quest, the more she questions the sanity of her plan. As the thought of her husband with another woman becomes all too real, Daisy’s forced to decide what’s more important in the short amount of time she has left: her husband’s happiness or her own?
Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat