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To Love What Is: A Marriage Transformed

One day it happens, the dreaded thing that will change your life forever, the more dreadful because, though you've half expected it, you don't know what form it will take or when it will come, and whether or not you will rise to the challenge. For Alix it happened on July 22, 2004, at two a.m. on a coastal Maine island in a remote seaside cabin where she woke to find that her beloved husband had fallen nine feet from their sleeping loft and was lying deathly still on the floor below. Though he would survive, he suffered an injury that left him seriously brain impaired.

In this elegant memoir, Shulman describes life on the other side: the ongoing anxieties, risks, and surprising rewards she experiences as she reorganizes her world and her priorities to care for her husband and discovers that what may have seemed a grim life-sentence to some has evolved into something unexpectedly rich.

Praise for TO LOVE WHAT IS:

“An extraordinary and important book. Shulman with elegance and deep insight moves between the past and the present, which at first seem so painfully different, and magically unites them. TO LOVE WHAT IS celebrates the deep resilience of self, and the power of a loving relationship, in the face of devastating brain damage.”
—Oliver Sacks

“This is the story of great love forged when death almost parts you and then doesn't, a book that will take its place next to those slender volumes that become tattered and torn as I read and reread and reread, as if my own life depended on it...Shulman's masterpiece.”
—Honor Moore (The Bishop's Daughter)

“Hope, fear, rage, guilt, the powerful endurance of love--it's all laid naked on the page, and every word rings true.”
—Martha Weinman Lear (Heartsounds)

“This remarkable book ... speaks openly and honestly and with exquisite poignancy about the durability of love.”
—Andrew Solomon (The Noonday Demon)

“A beautifully rendered portrait of a marriage,... by turns tender, wrenching and brutally honest.... This is a brilliant book—a work of the mind and heart—a testimony to the resiliency of the human spirit.”
—Patricia Bosworth (Diane Arbus)

“...A new kind of love story, as moving as any I've ever read.”
—Rebecca Goldstein (Betraying Spinoza)

“...A haunting meditation on a love more enduring than the body or mind...a potent reminder that even an irreparably altered life is still a life to be cherished.”
—Renee Graham in The Boston Globe