Gracefully Gone is the fusion of two journals: my father, Matthew L Coppola Sr.’s and mine. My father’s journal was written in 1982, two years after his diagnosis and remission with brain cancer. Mine was written in 1990-1991, roughly eight years later, as he began to die. In Gracefully Gone I chronicle my twenty-one year old pursuit of life and all the bitter and amusingly confusing angst that accompanies being twenty-one during the last six months of my father’s struggle towards death. I am hoping my life, my father’s life and our story, might be meaningful to strangers; or perhaps, if not meaningful, then at the very least, identifiable, relatable and at times, humorously understandable. Gracefully Gone is not about death, it is about the journey of a family, specifically, the journey of a young girl trying to find her way in the wake of growing up in the looming shadow of cancer. Gracefully Gone is written as a prayer for all the families, all the children too young to understand and for all the victims of this all too often insurmountable war to know they are not alone. Even though my mother and brother went through the same experience as I, we experienced it very differently. It was as if my father was the LOVEBOAT and we three were on our own separate lifeboats surrounding him, each of us handling our grief privately. Perhaps, if we’re really lucky, Gracefully Gone might allow someone a little peace and some comfort knowing that even though they are on their own lifeboats they are in an ocean full of them.