Anyone who has been through grief and loss will appreciate the honesty of Lisa Niemi Swayze, wife of Patrick Swayze, as she describes their life together, the ups and downs - and finally, his death after a brave struggle with pancreatic cancer. As Niemi Swayze puts it, she still "runs hot and cold", still feels anger for the bad times even as she cherishes memories of wonderful moments. Again, in her own words, there is " no in-between." Anger and grief, often intertwined. There are also vivid descriptions of the couple's marriage, with Patrick Swayze, the celebrity actor propelled to fame by movies such as Ghost and Dirty Dancing, as one half of that couple . From first meeting to life with a famed actor, Lisa chronicles the journey.
While most readers of the book should relate to the grief and loss felt by Niemi Swayze, fans of Patrick Swayze also get an upfront and very personal take on him, written by the woman who lived with and loved him, hanging in there through extremely turbulent times (even before the cancer diagnosis). The majority of the book focuses on the time after Swayze learned of the cancer and how the couple struggled to get through this searingly difficult period. They'd already survived so much by that point...Swayze's battles with alcohol, the loss of their dreams for a child, etc.
Things became so tough that in 2003 the couple were at the brink of divorce,with Swayze's heavy drinking a major factor. At his wife's request they lived apart, coming back only after Swayze made significant changes. Another issue was the fact that the Lisa Niemi who met Patrick when still very young was a far more quiet and private person than her energetic and outgoing husband. She learned to adapt but being in the public eye was not easy for her. She is quite honest that she had actually given up on their marriage and lost hope before...well, I'll let you discover that part for yourself...but only add that any reader feeling hopeless about a marriage might feel inspired by Lisa's experience and honesty.
But it was far from all bad times and struggles. There were also the incredibly happy moments, many of them happening as a result of Swayze's career. Celebrity opened doors to a whole new world including frequent travels, the opportunity to meet all sorts of people, all while learning and growing together. Meanwhile, their bond strengthened, forging a deeper love between the two.
Many couples mature as they go from young newlyweds to more seasoned partners and Lisa and Patrick aren't the only couple to have faced incredible challenges. But Niemi Swayze reveals, with poignant detail, how it feels to fight for her marriage- and her husband's life - as media, photographers, and fans watched every move.
I found the book to be a very touching memoir as well as inspiring. Perhaps you will as well. To get a take on Swayze's entire life, including the time before he met his wife, check out Swayze's book The Time of My Life . Each book is well worth the reading, particularly if you are a fan of celebrity bios or have wondered about the actor's background and life before and after fame.