In this moving memoir about the power of friendship and the resilience of the human spirit, Amy Silverstein tells the story of the extraordinary group of women who supported her as she waited on the precipice for a life-saving heart transplant.
Nearly twenty-six years after receiving her first heart transplant, Amy Silverstein’s donor heart plummeted into failure. If she wanted to live, she had to take on the grueling quest for a new heart—immediately.
A shot at survival meant uprooting her life and moving across the country to California. When her friends heard of her plans, there was only one reaction: “I’m there.” Nine remarkable women—Joy, Jill, Leja, Jody, Lauren, Robin, Valerie, Ann, and Jane—put demanding jobs and pressing family obligations on hold to fly across the country and be by Amy’s side. Creating a calendar spreadsheet, the women—some of them strangers to one another—passed the baton of friendship, one to the next, and headed straight and strong into the battle to help save Amy’s life.
Empowered by the kind of empathy that can only grow with age, these women, each knowing Amy from different stages of her life, banded together to provide her with something that medicine alone could not. Sleeping on a cot beside her bed, they rubbed her back and feet when the pain was unbearable, adorned her room with death-distracting decorations, and engaged in their “best talks ever.” They saw the true measure of their friend’s strength, and they each responded in kind.
My Glory Was I Had Such Friends is a tribute to these women and the intense hours they spent together—hours of heightened emotion and self-awareness, where everything was laid bare. Candid and heartrending, this once-in-a-lifetime story of connection and empathy is a powerful reminder of the ultimate importance of “showing up” for those we love.
About the Author
Amy Silverstein is the author of Sick Girl, which won a “Books for a Better Life Award” and was a finalist for the Border’s Original Voices Award. She earned her Juris Doctor at New York University School of Law, has served on the Board of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), and is an active speaker and writer on women’s health issues and patient advocacy. She lives in New York.
“Remarkable…My Glory Was I Had Such Friends is about the power of showing up for those you love, no matter the odds, no matter the distance.”
— CBS Sunday Morning
“There’s a special air around crisis that makes true intimacy possible in ways that daily life rarely does. Amy Silverstein has tapped into that moment with a cast of women who will make you pine for your nearest and dearest.”
— Kelly Corrigan, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Middle Place and Glitter and Glue
“An intimate celebration of the power of compassion.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Skillful…A brave, transparent look at the harrowing battle of a heart-transplant patient who, through the support of her friends, conquers unthinkable odds.”
“In this inspirational memoir of sickness and health, Silverstein pays tribute to the many women who put their lives on hold when she needed them most.”
— Real Simple
“My Glory Was I Had Such Friends is, at its core, a book about friendship. Silverstein spares no words honestly describing the endless emotions she felt when friends from work, childhood and her community walked alongside her as she waited for a heart…As different as these friends were, they all had common goals that brought them together: a love for Amy and a desperate desire for her to get a new heart. As a result, friendships deepened in courage and perseverance, and a new understanding was born for what it means to say, ‘I’m there’—and truly mean it.”
— Associated Press
“An inspiring, heart-warming memoir...Amazing...You can wait for the movie or grab some hankies and start crying now.”
— Huffington Post
“Read, be inspired, and then go call up your BFFs to tell ‘em how much you love them.”
— Women’s Health
“Three hearts and two transplants later, Silverstein is all the proof you need that amazing things can happen when you show up for a friend.”
— Jason Duaine Hahn, People Magazine