A Third Look at a Fine Memoir

The Unwinding of the Miracle is a work about the richness of life and about facing our deaths directly, realistically and peacefully. The “Unwinding” is life’s process of dying. In this case we have a memoir of the last five years in this brilliant, Chinese-Vietnamese refugee’s miraculous life on which to focus.

The book is filled with beautiful memoirs about the richness and the agony of her last days as a Harvard law graduate with a lovely interracial marriage and two wonderful daughters, though legally blind since infancy. Materially we learn about her tremendous physicality prior to a stage IV (metastatic) cancer diagnosis. Emotionally we are privy to a difficult childhood and her reliance on her family, friends and psychotherapist through the cancer turmoil.

Spiritually, she believes in an afterlife, though not the Biblical view. She has some Buddhism in her spiritual life, though no specific religion is identified. Her husband is a Protestant who is a regular church attender. One of her daughters is particularly attracted to her father’s church. Her faith in God and a life after death have a substantive effect on her journey.

The book begins as we are told if we are reading her work; she has now passed away. In some sense, it is a lesson for all of us as we appreciate the heightened intensity of living one’s last days. It is a gripping beautiful work, to those who love the genre of memoir. It operates at a meaningful depth for the reader as in these last days Ms. Yip-Williams wastes no words.

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