BookPress Publishing (2020)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (02/21)
“Brenda’s Wish” by Jackie Haley is a beautiful tribute to Brenda Schmitz and a heartwarming bittersweet story of love and family.
Brenda and David Schmitz were enjoying a nice life, co-parenting their children and stepchildren, when Brenda suddenly discovers she has stage IV ovarian cancer that had spread to other organs. With news that if she didn’t take action she would only have months to live, Brenda decides to have surgery and chemo to increase her chances of survival. Her family joins to together to help her get through this ordeal, but she ultimately succumbs to the disease and is surrounded by family and friends when she enters hospice to make her final transition. A couple years later, Brenda’s husband is surprised when he is contacted by a radio station who is going to posthumously grant Brenda the last wish that she had for her family. She also had a friend secretly send letters, that she had written, for important milestones in their lives. Brenda continued to touch lives even after she passed on and will continue to do so for the people who read her story.
“Brenda’s Wish,” takes us on a journey through a woman’s battle with cancer, and ultimately what happens after she passed away. Her story will touch your heart. I found myself tearing up several times. The Schmitz family and their community were admirable in how they banded together for Brenda and it was heartbreaking to see her leave behind children that loved her.
While Brenda’s story offered a lot of information to help women become more aware of ovarian cancer, it also touched my life in other ways. Her life made me think about how I am living my own life, and how I want to be remembered. It really helped me put things into perspective, especially about what is truly important at the end of the day. At her funeral, the minister said that she wanted him to remind her friends that they still have time. Brenda was out of time, but we are not, and this sent a message to me, that I still have time to do the things that I need to do so that I can transition knowing I spent my life well lived.
I highly recommend “Brenda’s Wish” by Jackie Haley. It’s a story you won’t soon forget.