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Notes Left Behind

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,050 Ratings  ·  192 Reviews
This is the true story of a six-year-old girl named Elena and her battle against brain cancer. In her last days she showed a community how to love and how to live. Written through the eyes of her parents, Brooke and Keith Desserich, as a remembrance to Elena's younger sister, Elena's story is one of humility and inspiration as she lives each day, one day at a time. In her ...more
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Published October 27th 2009 by HarperAudio (first published 2008)
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Harun Harahap
Dec 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
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
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, memoir
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
Julie Cohen
Oct 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I have said to friends and in petitions to Congress that children's cancer research needs more than 4% of funds earmarked for cancer research. Children are the future and it stands to reason that finding a cure for cancers that affect them is a must. Hearing of the death of a child has to be one of the worst things ever but losing that child is absolutely the most devastating occurrence in a parent's lifetime. Please donate to Children's Cancer Research. Please contact your congress
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because I too lost a child to cancer. I thought the book would be more about the family coming across the notes she left for them before she died, but it was actually a day to day journal they kept during the time she was sick. It brought back a lot of memories for me of the 2 1/2 years my son was being treated for cancer before he died.
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Make sure to have some tissues. The book is all about the illness and passing of a little girl and the notes she left all over her home for her family to find after she was gone. As a parent, your heartbreaks to read this. At the same time, the thought that the little girl put into her family's grief and how to alleviate it, was what lifted the book from just sad to uplifting for me.
Glenda Linder
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elena story

This book made me happy and sad. What a gift she was to her family. I can;t imagine what they went through, but I feel their loss. What a beautiful story an family. God bless the children.
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is heart-breaking...a parent's worst nightmare - having a young child with terminal cancer. I'm not sure why I read this, but perhaps it's because I'm scared of death and look for anything that can help me see how to cope with it. These parents are real and amazing.
Vicki Mee
Very sad -
Adriana Miller
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very sad but cancer is a very sad disease. I actually felt I was living through beautiful Elena's journey with her and her family through this dreaded disease.

I read most of the book and couldn't finish the rest because of my friends cancer. It it about a young girl with brain cancer.
Oct 14, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, memoirs
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol Birch
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweet and heartbreaking story.
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
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
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
Nov 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
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
Melissa Burke
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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
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
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
Dec 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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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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