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Notes Left Behind

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  856 ratings  ·  176 reviews
Elena Desserich dreamed of becoming a teacher. Although her time on this earth was far too short to fulfill her dream, she left behind an enlightening lesson plan on life. Wise beyond her years, Elena never stopped teaching those around her to appreciate the miracle of everyday living even as the innocent six-year-old battled a rare form of brain cancer.

Through personal an
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by William Morrow (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Harun Harahap
Elena terdeteksi menderita tumor di otak dan divonis hanya akan bisa bertahan hidup selama 135 hari. Tapi Tuhan memberikan hidup 120 hari lebih lama dari yang divoniskan. Mungkin hidup terasa singkat selama 255 hari, tapi jika diisi dengan penuh rasa syukur, 255 hari menjadi hari-hari yang singkat namun indah.

Kisah ini ditulis oleh Ayah dan Ibu Elena. Saya lebih tertarik saat dikisahkan melalui sudut pandang Ayah. Di beberapa bagian, hati saya tersentuh hingga ingin menitikkan air mata. Bagian y
I picked this book up when I was at Border's one day... the cover caught my eyes, and then the synopsis pulled me in. I'm becoming a Child Life Specialist, a professional who will work with children in the hospital and help them, as well as their families, cope with their injury or illness using play. Therefore, I thought this book would give me a perspective of the parents, and how they feel as their child is diagnosed with something as big as cancer. And yet, Elena's story has taught me so muc ...more
This book was heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time. It's one of those books where I needed to be in a certain mood to read it. I will say it now, the tears came and the came hard. Several times while reading the book I would have those small tears escape and fall down. Then the authors had me laughing like a crazy person. It was the perfect mix of tears and laughter.

Reading this has made me really enjoy my life and everything that I have been given. Live each day as if it was your last.
Ellen Isabella
Elena, malaikat yang dikirimkan Tuhan untuk keluarga Desserich. Meskipun hidupnya hanya sampai 6 tahun, tapi dia mengajarkan dan meninggalkan pesan dan kesan yang sangat mendalam pada berjuta-juta orang. Saya sangat terkesan dengan betapa pintarnya Elena menarik perhatian dan rasa sayang dari semua orang. Anaknya kalem dan berpemikiran sangat dewasa. Orangtuanya pasti sangat bangga memiliki anak seperti Elena dan adiknya, Gracie. Keduanya sangat menggemaskan. Setelah membaca buku ini saya jadi p ...more
Elena was a beautiful and sweet 6 year old with a brain tumor. She loved to write notes with hearts drawn on them. They often said, "I love Mom Dad Gracie." Elena's mom and dad wrote in a journal all through her diagnosis, treatment, and progression. They lovingly and unselfishly share their innermost thoughts, fears, desires, and emotions recorded in this journal, and they titled it "Notes Left Behind." I enjoyed getting to know Elena while reading this book, and I definitely admire the courage ...more
Julie Cohen
Oct 11, 2009 Julie Cohen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents and families
Recommended to Julie by: friends
How do you say goodbye to a child? The journal of this family walks us through the intimate experience of losing a child. The sudden onset of Elena's particular cancer and the fact that it was considered "incurable" from first diagnosis startles and upsets us, the readers. The Desserichs writing is so compelling that we want to know how each day will be completed. Elena's determination and her "notes left behind" remind all of us of the power of communication. The Desserichs journal also reminds ...more
It's really impossible to not be touched by this story, considering what it is about. But does that mean it is excellent literature? Not necessarily.

I entered to win this book knowing it would be either beautifully written or a little flat. I am not surprised to say it was the latter. While I was first reading this book, I found the writing style a little irritating. Compared to the books I usually read, it was too obviously cheesy and witty (that is, so witty that it's not actually witty). As I
This book was a sad story about a family who discovered their six year old daughter had a rare brain cancer. The book was a journal written by her mom and dad and their difficult journey back and forth between when the tumor was progressing and Elena's motor skills would be affected and when the tumor was in remission. When she was in remission she would be back to almost normal. Not surprisingly, her parents went back and forth believing she could overcome this cancer. It is a touching and sad ...more
Feb 11, 2015 Becki added it
Shelves: book-collector
Elena Desserich wanted to become a teacher. But at 6, a rare form of brain cancer threatens her very survival. This book is the story of her struggle as told through journal enteries written by her parents.\n\nBased on the title and the synopsis I read, I really thought the book would be more about the literal notes that she left behind in their home. It wasn't, even though there were some copies of those notes scattered throughout the book. The synopsis also said that the book was written for G ...more
Julie Decker
Elena Desserich was diagnosed with an incurable form of brain cancer at only five years old.

Her parents kept a journal online documenting her cancer treatment and how it affected her, her family, and everyone around her.

This depressing and terrifying but viciously hopefully and love-filled testament to Elena's will to love and love of her family is really quite riveting to read, despite the fact that sometimes the narrative just jumps and leaves us with blank spaces that never get answered or re
Melissa Burke
It's hard to find words to review this book. Well as you can see by the fact that I gave it 5 stars, it's really good. At first I thought that reading journal entries by a father and mother keeping track of their daughter's cancer would be extremely depressing and that's it. Yes, it's depressing - obviously reading about a 6 year old going through hell because of this cancer she has to live with isn't exactly upbeat reading. But even through all of the darkness there's still light. Reading this ...more
This book is extremely sad but well written and makes you really take time to appreciate and spend time with the ones you love. Everyone should read this book. Be cautious though it is the first and only book I have ever cried while reading.
It's way too overwhelming to put my feelings in words. Really can't and don't want to put myself in the shoes of those parents. it's heart aching ; painful.
Cristal Bridges
This was a heartbreaking and sad book. It is the diary entries made by a mother and father trying to hold on to any part of their dying little girl as they can. I cried and I fell in love with the little girl, Elena. Reading the words of this family who were trying so hard to cope with their 6 year-old daughter having a brain tumor, you can't even imagine what that family went through.

It was gripping and heart wrenching. The dad had written most of the entries but the mom also has a few here an
How can anyone begin to make sense of something so tragic? I don't believe you can. Keith and Brooke penned this beautiful book as a tribute to their daughters…both of them, the one they lost and the one they kept. With every turn of the page you can see the deep love they hold for their daughters and for each other, and through it all they learned about tough choices, priorities and the strength they held within. Never before have I read such a book that spoke directly to me about life, love an ...more
How can anyone begin to make sense of something so tragic? I don't believe you can. Keith and Brooke penned this beautiful book as a tribute to their daughters…both of them, the one they lost and the one they kept. With every turn of the page you can see the deep love they hold for their daughters and for each other, and through it all they learned about tough choices, priorities and the strength they held within. Never before have I read such a book that spoke directly to me about life, love an ...more
Notes Left Behind is a book I won't soon forget. It's a journal written by two parents going through the most difficult time in their lives. The journal, which was meant fo their youngest daughter, was too powerful not to share.

Brooke and Keith Desserich introduce you to their lovely daughter Elena at age 5. What a precious little girl. Not only is she absolutely adorable (yes, there are pictures), she is also clearly the sweetest thing ever. She's kind, loving, and well behaved. She's quiet, re
This book was incredible. It's a journal written by parents of a six year old girl with cancer. They began the journal originally to keep friends and family updated, but it turned into much more than that. Included are love letters written from their daughter and left behind for them to find after she was gone.

I first thought this would be heartwrenching, and don't get me wrong, it was. But more than that, it was a story of hope. It was a reminder to hang onto every minute, to see your children
This book is both heart-breaking and inspirational. As I read about Elena, it was obvious that she was a special little person, creative and intelligent, who probably would have grown to make a tremendous contribution to sociey in adulthood, whether she became the teacher she dreamed of being or made another choice. There's a good chance that she is teaching now through the story of her too-short life, inspiring readers to live life to the fullest, never taking a moment for granted, especially r ...more
Though the writing wasn't sophisticated or "challenging," this book is still an important work. The Desserich family's journal does much more than just portray the obvious physical struggles associated with cancer. Elena's courage and never-ending perseverance has to be acknowledged, when so many of us give up on small tasks because of silly obstacles like a lack of energy or FEAR. This is the story of a 6 year old girl who wants to maintain the normalcy of childhood, but understands that this i ...more
Notes Left Behind is the compilation of a journal kept by Elena Desserich's parents during the months of her illness. At Six-years-old Elena was diagnosed with an advanced form of brain cancer which has only a 10% survival rate. From the beginning her parents were fighting a losing battle. With grace, courage, anger, frustration, love and acceptance, Elena's family fought for every day of her life. Their journal, started for Elena's younger sister Grace as a way to share Elena's life with her la ...more
Two ordinary parents write their candid reactions to their daughter's journey through cancer. Specifically, an incurable, rare form of brain cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). Their elder daughter, Elena, was diagnosed with this disease, leaving them to grapple with the implications. They started a journal of their experiences for their younger daughter, Grace, hoping they could preserve some of Elena for her sister as well as document what they felt, but since they shared th ...more
Kristina Jo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I decided to read this book because I am interested in pediatric nursing, and I got more out of it than I expected. This extraordinary and heartbreaking story of Elena and her amazingly supportive, and strong family is a must read for everyone. This book not only tells the story of Elena, but describes the stories of so many just like her. It breaks my heart that people like Elena are lost during our search for a cure for cancer. But through their extraordinary stories, the love of their familie ...more
This is the very touching journal of the last days of Elena Desserich. Elena was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at the age of five and given 135 days to live. She lived 256 days.

I'm not going to lie. This was a very difficult book to read since it was about child so young. In fact, I was so overcome by emotion at the end of the book that I was sobbing uncontrollably. But I'm glad that I did. Elena was one of those one in a million children that was born with an old soul and she accomplishe
Alvi Harahap
This is the true story of a six-year-old girl named Elena and her battle against cancer. In her last days she showed a community how to love and how to live. Written through the eyes of her parents as a remembrance for her younger sister, her daily story tells one of humility and inspiration as she lives each day, one at a time. In her short time she painted a masterpiece that would hang in an art museum, she accomplished a truly spectacular series of wishes that she alone created, and she inspi ...more
What an absolutely heartbreaking book! Notes Left Behind is a memoir about every parent's worst nightmare, the death of their child. Brooke and Keith Desserich's beautiful 6 year old daughter Elena died of diffuse brain stem glioma, a form of brain cancer, and this book details 9 months of their life from Elena's diagnosis on Nov 29th to her death the following August. From the beginning they knew that the odds were not in their favor, but they all faced their battle with strength and courage. T ...more
Won on first reads. As the world lost a great lady when my wonderful friend, Ramona, just passed away, this review will serve for both of us. She will be dearly missed and cancer will be cursed for taking her from us so young.

This was a book that came just at the right time for me and my family. I have 3 people currently who are close to being lost to cancer. They are very dear to me and naturally I am greiving the fact that they will soon be gone from this earth in a physical sense. I love the
I read this on a plane when I was going to pick up my kids from their dad's house after Thanksgiving- This one is a tearjerker! I loved my kids in a completely different way after reading this. Being a chemotherapy nurse, I deal with death and people fighting for their lives- as a mother- I cannot even begin to imagine losing a child. People, life is short!!! Make everyday count, and forgive yourself if a day goes by and you aren't everything you set out to be. Try again tomorrow. You have to wa ...more
Marcy Reiz
sad story :o(

It's hard to "rate" this book.

While I enjoyed reading what Elena was like, it was difficult to see her struggle, both in pictures and in words, and sad to see how it finally ended. I will not lie, I shed tears at the end of this journal, even though ultimately, I knew how it would end.
Elena was a very brave and wise girl, far beyond her short 6 years, she will touch many lives, and hopefully, her story will begin to save many as well. Life is too short and too precious to be wasted.
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“No matter what happened, Dad would be here to save and protect you. And I believed it. It is a simple job. I defeated bullies, darkness and nightmares. I believed that my hands were quicker than lightning and my skin tougher than armor when it came to protecting my daughters. No matter what the threat, I told them that their dad would be there to keep them safe. Little did I know what lay ahead.” 0 likes
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