The Longest Goodbye: A Family’s Hope-Filled Journey Through Alzheimer’s

by Shelly Calcagno

Genres: Christian Living

ISBN: 9781649602039

Price: $15.99

Are we ever ready to say goodbye?

I wasn’t prepared for her to go. To have her sit right beside me, yet be so far away. My mother and life-long best friend who doesn’t even remember my name. It’s been the longest goodbye. And I keep asking this question—how do we love through the hardest of days? Through the pain and the loss? Listening to the slow ticking of the clock, as we sit watching everything slip away. Most of the time we don’t have a choice. I didn’t have a choice. So we look for glimmers of hope, reach for deep grace, and collect precious memories into a big pile of legacy love. We treasure each goodbye like it’s the most important moment we’ve ever had. Because it is.

Alzheimer’s disease affects almost fifty million people worldwide. It touches people across every walk of life. So, how do millions of people figure out how to love as they let go? The Longest Goodbye is a collection of stories and moments not just about the clinical side of memory loss–but the emotional heart journey. It is a story that shows how joy and grief are often intertwined and wrapped up together in the glorious mess of life.

The Longest Goodbye encourages readers to remember the ones they love while they are still here and to intentionally celebrate and live through the pain and hard days. It’s filled with tears, hope, and bitter-sweet moments all held together by the beautiful love of a mother and daughter holding onto a life filled with memories, while learning to let go and say goodbye.


Shelly Calcagno lives in the beautiful country of Canada. She studied English Literature at Brock University and Religious Education at Master's College and Seminary. She followed that with 20 years of pastoral church ministry to children and families. Shelly loves to write, speak, blog and has self-published a children's book, Tini's Tangles. In 2020 she started a pandemic-launched podcast called, A Space for Grace.

Shelly has written and produced several animated series for children, as well as family and children’s curriculum. Shelly co-hosted from 2013-2016 on 100 Huntley Street – Canada’s longest running daytime talk show where she produced lifestyle and faith segments. Shelly loves being creative and taking on DIY projects, especially if they involve mason jars and chalkboard paint! She is passionate about legacy and bringing ideas to life. Shelly is married and has two awesome young adult children.