When All That's Left of Me Is Love

Non-Fiction - Memoir
232 Pages
Reviewed on 03/18/2012
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Author Biography

Linda Campanella is an accidental author. Her book, an account of her last year with her terminally ill mother Nancy, essentially wrote itself in the weeks of intense grief following her mother's death in September 2009. Campanella says chapters poured out of her at all hours of the day and night, flowing directly from a broken heart to a blank page. She finished the manuscript in less than two months -- in time to give it to her father for Christmas, his first without his wife and sweetheart of 52 years. It is a story she never wanted or expected to tell, but now that it's written, she is happy to keep her mother's legacy of love and her joyful, generous spirit alive through its pages.

Professionally, Campanella keeps busy as a Connecticut-based management consultant; her solo practice serves nonprofit organizations of all sizes and missions. In previous stops along her career path she was a corporate executive in the aerospace industry, a senior administrator at a private college, and an international trade negotiator in the executive branch of the federal government.

She currently resides in West Hartford, Connecticut, and grew up in nearby Longmeadow, Massachusetts. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Joe, who is an architect and a wonderful life partner. They have three sons in their twenties and an adorable, two-year-old mini-goldendoodle named Stella.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite

Author Linda Campanella's mother, Nancy, was diagnosed with stage four small-cell cancer that had spread to her brain in September of 2008. This was horrible news for Nancy's four children, Linda, Paula, Claudia and Eric as well as her husband of over fifty years, Eckart, a doctor who headed the radiology department at Baystate Medical Center near where they lived in Connecticut. Nancy and Eckart had been in love since they met in the 1950's and Nancy had a loving and close bond with her children and grandchildren. But Linda Campanella shares with the reader how she, her father and her siblings were determined to make their mother's last months of life a joy. They decided that they would give her love and support and not be afraid of crying and showing her how much they loved her as she had always loved them. And through the months of chemotherapy, radiation, hospice and dealing with Nancy's gradual physical decline into a coma and then death a year and a day after her diagnosis, her family gathers around her, celebrating her life and love.

This is a brilliantly written testimonial to a family's great loss of the wife and mother. That Linda Campanella, her father, and her siblings were able to surround Nancy with love, that they gave dignity in small things such as their "happy hour" times and dressing up her hospital bed in the living room, and shared the knowledge that they would miss her so very much and would always love her makes this book a must read for everyone. The first-rate formatting with a table of contents, index, and poetry to share, makes "When all that's left of me is love" a book that should be on library and church offices everywhere. Grief counselors should have copies to give away plentifully. "When all that's left of me is love" offers a unique and healing viewpoint of how to deal with the loss of a loved one.