When independent single-dad Aubrey reveals that he has stage 4 cancer, “normal life” goes out the window for his ex-wife and their thirteen year old son. They and others witness his brave efforts to heal himself in his final months of life as he struggles to come to terms with his mortality. The family learns on their feet as they encounter each new situation. The narrative shares an unsentimental description of the patient’s experiences with hospitals and nursing care, the end-of-life decisions he encounters, the activities of his caregivers, the responsibilities of his health-care advocates, and the role of professional helpers such as Social Workers and Hospice.

This real-life story showcases what millions of people in the USA go through when dealing with end-of-life choices and healthcare, the governmental and health insurance bureaucracies, and the profound effects of poverty on health. In the face of all these challenges, it is the generosity of Aubrey’s family, friends, and community that makes all the difference.

This unusual hybrid book conveys half of its story visually, through hundreds of cartoons, comics, and painted illustrations integrated with the text. There is a tremendous depth of tenderness in the telling, even a dose of humor. Ultimately, this book is a heart-warming celebration of life and love.

"More than a memoir, Our Last Six Months serves as a case study and conversation-starter for those end-of-life decisions that many families put off until a crisis hits.”
WinningWriters North Street Book Competition
“I enjoyed ‘Our Last Six Months’ so much. It is heartfelt and thoughtful and a damn good read. What a great way to remember Aubrey, and to help others who find themselves in the land of the sick. Bravo!”
Lynne Assaf
Hospital Clinical Social Worker
“I started reading your book late on Saturday night. 30 pages flew by. On Sunday I read it almost completely, saving the last 20 pages for this morning. And finished it about 30 minutes ago, forgoing my usual wake up routine. Now I know I’ll look forward to re-reading it. I should have jotted down some notes along the way but couldn’t stop reading. The cartooning and paintings are fantastic!!!!!!!! Thank you, Emily. The world thanks you for this work of art. I wanted to write ASAP after reading. I have many thoughts from at least 2 perspectives: being a nurse and being an individual (still) coping with grief and loss. I could write for hours. I just wanted to give a huge thumbs-up for this book. It deserves a place on the shelves of our public libraries, school libraries. Thank you so much. I feel stronger from reading this book. XXOO”
“I spent almost the entirety of the day curled up reading your book, in the company of its art and authenticity. just finished the very last page. Such a dense amount of journeying over those months over such new territory!”
“I can hardly put it down!! It's like a LONG LETTER from you. I ‘hear' you talking to me. I just finished reading it.....I'm almost at a loss for words. OMG!... I linger in the cradle of this amazing story and am mostly in AWE that you could capture and tell it so well in this unusual 'new' format! Maybe I should just say READ it, everyone. You'll see....you'll see!”
“I love the way you tell these stories - compassionately, always with a sense of fairness, amazing honesty, and with a moving balance of pathos and humor. The cartoons are so approachable, they pull you into the story!”
“This is more than a memoir—it is an essential guidebook for others in similar difficult situations. The author gives us a direct and true account in an honest and openhearted way, never maudlin or sentimental. Illustrations help to tell this story with warmth and humor. This is a gem of a book.”
Jeanie Smith
Board President, The Whole Heath Center
“Emily, your book is absolutely a treasure. [We] are both picking it up throughout the day and reading/looking at it slowly. Really, it's an exceptional work in many, many ways. This book is destined to be helpful to lots of people over years.”
“Great book! I read it the day after the Comics & Medicine [Graphic Medicine] conference in the hotel and on the plane.”
“Excellent. I also enjoyed it very much. [My wife] passed it on to a friend with a sister in the last phases. A great resource: for personal inner work and functionally outer work.”
“I am about halfway through your book. I am so grateful that you wrote it because there are threads of similarity. I can relate to so so much....and I realize that I was doing the best I could without a road map. I had not walked this journey before....nor had I anticipated the need. Maybe your book would have helped me. I am thinking so. May it be a gift to others.....thank you. I cannot put it down. Your sweet sketches and format relieve the reader of the heavy nature of the subject. Or maybe it is easier for me to read because it is familiar.”
"Aubrey Bart of Somesville, Maine (1949-2017), the subject of this graphic memoir, was a valued friend for the past quarter-century, my being able to enjoy with him a love of nature, of hiking, and (as a fellow word monger) also of writing. It was a friendship I variously shared with many other Appalachian Mountain Club members plus a host of others. Moreover, I have known and admired Emily Bracale, the incredibly perceptive author/artist, for almost as long. (And it was my privilege to have been able to offer some editorial suggestions while this book was in progress.) The book's title plus subtitle summarize beautifully what this poignant volume has to offer Aubrey's extended family and many friends. For them it will be a page-turner, then to be cherished for a lifetime. But for any reader it will serve the important task of providing an impetus (and perhaps the needed strength) to address his or her own end-of-life decisions. And its subtle blend of public healthcare information, pathos, and gentle humor, is a tour-de-force that will help elevate the emerging graphic-memoir genre into the literary mainstream. However, this book has far wider significance than its roles as a memento to a life modestly and bravely lived and a monument to the author's selfless agape. It relentlessly exposes the true underbelly of our country's shamefully deplorable healthcare system, especially as it functions for individuals of limited means. Not only must our healthcare bureaucracy learn from this book, but it is my hope that it will as well be read and digested by our state and national politicians in hopes that they can work toward the changes necessary to bring our country in line with the world's other highly developed and industrialized nations with respect to national healthcare."
Arthur H. Westing
"Hi, Emily, Thanks for the review. I couldn't agree more with Mr. Westing's description as a 'subtle blend of public healthcare information, pathos, and gentle humor' except to disagree with the term 'subtle' -- all those aspects are deliciously right in the reader's face. I really exulted in that, and in your endless alternation between journalizing and reflecting. There were times when I'd read a paragraph and just sit back and smile in the way one would while savoring a particularly flavorful bite of food.”

Emily Bracale is a lifelong artist and educator. She is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and College of the Atlantic. Her professional experience includes classroom teaching at public and private schools, art education for children and adults, graphic design, landscape design, watercolor landscape painting, and nonfiction writing. She is the author and illustrator of In the Lyme-Light: Portraits of Illness and Healing (2010) and the revised edition, In the Lyme-Light II: Portraits of Illness and Healing (2014).