This book is the story of the last two years of a bright, expressive, and courageous woman dying of ovarian cancer, as told by her husband through the journal he kept during her illness. Erica and Joan Robinson know of her prognosis when they married,; together they made a conscious decision to spend with each other what little time Joan had left, for better or for worse.
Eric's memoir is not a heroic story or a romance. It is simply a deeply honest and often harrowing account of two people's failures and triumphs, their joys and miseries, as they tried to make sense of a life totally undermined by terminal disease. Eric describes his daily routine of nursing his increasingly incapacitated wife and the perennial problems of hospitalization, housekeeping, and finance, all of which he juggles while trying to keep up with his responsibilities as a college professor. He describes his tormented emotional state, which became a jumble of intense love, resentment, devotion, fear, anger, and even disgust at Joan's physical deterioration. And always, he reminds us, there was guilt. "Whatever one does is bound under the circumstances to be insufficient and unsatisfactory. Even sleeping begins to seem an indulgence. Why should I sleep when Joan cannot?"
Anyone who has experience of loved ones who are terminally ill will recognize the validity of the scenes and emotions portrayed in this book. It should be of interest to a growing lay and professional audience urging sensitive and humane treatment of dying and death.