At the tender age of fifteen, Sarah Caldwell learned that her father had been diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and had only a short time left to live. In moments her life went from texting friends, going to gymnastics practice and family vacations by the sea to watching her father’s rapid, irreversible deterioration, a process that plunged her into deep depression.
But Jim Caldwell was a man whose indomitable spirit in the face of his suffering provided the ultimate inspiration for Sarah to transform her depression into a journey of healing and love. She learned to accept her and her father’s fate and became determined not to waste a moment of the time she had left with him. When her father passed away, leaving Sarah to face life without her beloved dad, she was determined again to continue on the path of hope and strength, making sense of her loss and honoring his life by helping raise awareness of ALS and money for desperately-needed research for a cure.
With a special foreword by former pro-football player Steve Gleason, Just To Make You Smile is the rare, honest, compassionate and bold account of a young adult’s process of watching a parent get ill and die, and the inspiration she hopes to impart by sharing her grieving process, deep inner growth and healing. By telling her story in its entirety, from the lowest depths of grief and depression to the heights of finding her inner strength, making a difference and carrying on her father’s fighting spirit, she hopes to touch the lives of others, especially kids with a sick parent, letting them know they are never alone on this difficult journey.