Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dream New Dreams - Pausch

Jai (said Jay) Pausch, the wife of a Carnegie Mellon University professor and mother of three, was thrust unwillingly into the spotlight when her husband, Randy, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Rather than sit back and complain, however, in a fashion true to himself, Randy Pausch moved forward with what was left of his life and fought.  But despite doctor's efforts, the cancer metastasized and spread to other organs. There was no hope left.

He then agreed to give what he referred to as his "last lecture" at his school... And, it went viral. What was supposed to be an unassuming last talk turned into an overnight sensation, a book (also entitled The Last Lecture), offers to appear on national television with the likes of Diane Sawyer and Oprah Winfrey, and even the opportunity to speak before Congress about cancer funding.

While these events occurred, and through to Randy's eventual death, Jai Pausch stood by his side, served as his caregiver, and figured out how to survive the loss for both herself and her children.

Her book, Dream New Dreams, offers her point of view of the events, as well as an update as to how her life has changed and evolved since her terrible loss. She talks of her efforts to continue Randy's anti-cancer efforts and to rebuild a life that no longer fulfilled her "dream" of growing old with her husband and children.  She also talks in depth about the role of caregiver for someone suffering from illnesses like cancer and how she managed the challenges, while learning (not always the easy way) to take care of herself as well.

I very much enjoyed this book. As many were, I was very touched by Randy Pausch and his story. I was just as touched by Jai's story and how she has managed to deal with her loss and hurt, while caring for her children, reestablishing a life and accepting new dreams. A touching memoir and a good read, particularly for someone dealing with similar issues of loss or illness.

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.