In this moving memoir about the power of friendship and the resilience of the human spirit, Amy Silverstein tells the story of the extraordinary group of women who supported her as she waited on the precipice for a lifesaving heart transplant.
Nearly twenty-six years after receiving her first heart transplant, Amy Silverstein’s donor heart plummeted into failure. If she wanted to live, she had to take on the grueling quest for a new heart—immediately.
A shot at survival meant uprooting her life and moving across the country to California. When her friends heard of her plans, there was only one reaction: “I’m there.” Nine remarkable women—Joy, Jill, Leja, Jody, Lauren, Robin, Valerie, Ann, and Jane—put demanding jobs and pressing family obligations on hold to fly across the country and be by Amy’s side. Creating a calendar spreadsheet, the women—some of them strangers to one another—passed the baton of friendship one to the next and headed straight and strong into the battle to help save Amy’s life.
Empowered by the kind of empathy that can only come with age, these women, each knowing Amy from different stages of her life, banded together to provide her with something that medicine alone could not. Sleeping on a cot beside her bed, they rubbed her back and feet when the pain was unbearable, adorned her room with death-distracting decorations, and engaged in their “best talks ever.” They saw the true measure of their friend’s strength, and they each responded in kind.
My Glory Was I Had Such Friends is a tribute to these women and the intense hours they spent together—hours of heightened emotion and self-awareness, where everything was laid bare. Candid and heartrending, this once-in-a-lifetime story of connection is a powerful reminder of the ultimate importance of showing up for those we love.
“An inspiring, heart-warming memoir...Amazing...You can wait for the movie or grab some hankies and start crying now.” —Huffington Post
“An intimate celebration of the power of compassion.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Memoirs written by people who have survived devastating health issues are common, as are books that celebrate the friend who is an angel-like presence in tough times. My Glory Was I Had Such Friends combines both elements, but in far better fashion than the standard-issue memoir or the typical homage to girlfriends…A potent reminder of the importance of imperfect friends, for loving them for whoever they are…Silverstein proved her writing mettle…She seamlessly knits several important issues into one compelling package.” —USA Today (3.5/4 stars)
“Friendship is a key element to a happy life and, as Amy Silverstein’s moving memoir demonstrates, friends matter even more when we’re facing a big challenge. Nine remarkable friends helped Amy to survive while she waited for a life-saving heart transplant. This riveting account of what Amy endured—and how her friends supported her—illuminates the power of friendship, for all of us.” —Gretchen Rubin, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before
“There’s a special air around crisis that makes true intimacy possible in ways that daily life rarely does. Amy Silverstein has tapped into that moment with a cast of women who will make you pine for your nearest and dearest.” —Kelly Corrigan, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Middle Place and Glitter and Glue
“A tremendously moving story about the power of female friendship—the incredible way our bonds deepen with age, and a gentle reminder to all of us how important it is to show up for those we love. There is no doubt that readers will recognize their own ‘friend circles’ in these pages and feel a new appreciation for the many miles they’ve walked together.” —Kathleen Grissom, bestselling author of The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything
“In this inspirational memoir of sickness and health, Silverstein pays tribute to the many women who put their lives on hold when she needed them most.” —Real Simple
“Remarkable…My Glory Was I Had Such Friends is about the power of showing up for those you love, no matter the odds, no matter the distance.” —CBS Sunday Morning
“Skillful…A brave, transparent look at the harrowing battle of a heart-transplant patient who, through the support of her friends, conquers unthinkable odds.” —Booklist
“My Glory Was I Had Such Friends is, at its core, a book about friendship. Silverstein spares no words honestly describing the endless emotions she felt when friends from work, childhood and her community walked alongside her as she waited for a heart…As different as these friends were, they all had common goals that brought them together: a love for Amy and a desperate desire for her to get a new heart. As a result, friendships deepened in courage and perseverance, and a new understanding was born for what it means to say, ‘I’m there’—and truly mean it.” —Associated Press
“If it were fiction, you’d dismiss it as over the top: Multiple devoted women collaborating in an emotional, cross-country support relay, struggling to keep an exhausted friend alive—a friend who is focused and willing to undergo yet another heart transplant. An endless wait leads to a medical miracle that makes it all worthwhile. But here’s the kicker: It’s all true, and it’s beautifully written, too.” —Ted Koppel, author of New York Times bestseller Lights Out