An inspiring story of one woman's journey through heartbreaking loss to renewal and new purpose.
In 2008, inspirational surgeon Chris O'Brien published his bestselling memoir of his battle with brain cancer, NEVER SAY DIE. But he wasn't the only person in the O'Brien household with a powerful story to tell. Since Chris passed away in 2009, his wife Gail has gone on a journey of her own: from a busy surgeon's wife and mother of a picture-perfect family to a widow in her mid-50s, grieving not only her husband but also her son Adam, who died as a result of epilepsy a short time after Chris's death.
Yet in the midst of her grief, Gail discovered resolve and strength deep within herself. When Chris was alive, Gail was the woman behind the great man. But after his death, she stepped forward to make her own mark on the world. While coming to terms with both a public and private loss, Gail took on Chris's legacy as steward of the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse cancer centre, navigating the often bruising politics of boards and committees to ensure his vision was realised. She also went back to work as a physio after being out of the workforce for 20 years, while still holding her shattered family together. She reinvented herself and found that she could survive and even thrive in a world without her soul mate.
A moving, inspiring, deeply poignant and often joyous story of family, love and loss - and ultimately, about finding your purpose in the world.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We were deeply moved by this honest, engaging memoir. When Gail O’Brien’s husband, Chris—the much-admired surgeon—was diagnosed with brain cancer, Gail devoted herself to his care. Less than two years after Chris’ death, the couple’s son suddenly passed away. Written by Gail and Chris’ daughter, Juliette, This Is Gail offers rich insights into the family’s relationships and values and their interactions with friends and allies, including several public figures. You’ll be inspired by Gail’s strength and resolve: facing grief, returning to work, speaking publicly about the health care system and fighting to realise Chris’ vision for Sydney’s Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is Gail
Behind every great man is an even greater woman..!! Read this book an you will know what I mean...
This is Gail: life with and after Chris O'Brien
Congratulations to Juliette O'Brien for a fine biography about her remarkable and inspiring parents. That Juliette was able to share the highs and lows of her family's life in such an honest way is testimony to the love and support that clearly exists within, and for, their extended circle of relatives, friends and Chris O'Brien Lighthouse colleagues. Their story at times brought me to tears and at other moments hearty laughter. I particularly appreciated the inclusion of several intimate notes exchanged between Gail and Juliette as the book was being written. These underscored the wit, intelligence, careful contemplation and acceptance that unfolded during its creation. I'm certain Chris would approve of it, and appreciate all his family have done to see his magnificent dream of wholistic cancer care come to fruition. This is a book all carers should read, for not only is it uplifting but it also reminds us how important it is to advocate passionately on behalf for those we care for.
This is Gail
Throughly enjoyed from beginning to end. Gave a real insight into down to earth family dealing with terminal illness & sheer determination in what they believed in.