The Unwinding of the Miracle | Julie Yip-Williams

Summary of: The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After
By: Julie Yip-Williams


In ‘The Unwinding of the Miracle’, Julie Yip-Williams shares her remarkable life, which began in tumultuous Vietnam, marked by struggles including congenital blindness and an escape attempt from the country. Despite the odds, she overcame her environment, became a successful lawyer in the US, and built a family. However, Julie’s life was turned upside-down when she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. In this memoir, she takes you on a roller coaster of emotions, from hope and ambition to despair and acceptance, and ultimately reveals how she found peace in the face of her impending death.

Surviving Blindness: Julie Yip-Williams’ Inspiring Journey

Julie Yip-Williams was born blind due to congenital cataracts, in the midst of Vietnam’s civil war. Her grandmother suggested infanticide as the only sensible solution to the problem. However, her parents’ request for this was denied by an herbalist, who didn’t believe in infanticide. Julie’s great-grandmother also found out about it and declared that Julie was not to be harmed. Julie’s story is nothing short of amazing. Despite the odds stacked against her, she went on to fight her way to survival, education, success, and ultimately to authorship. She faced a tough journey with cancer but remained determined and positive until her death at the age of 42.

Escaping Vietnam: A Story of Overcoming Adversity

Julie’s story begins with her family’s decision to escape Vietnam in 1979 due to unbearable poverty, violence, and government confiscation of their assets. The family boarded a leaking fishing boat bound for Hong Kong. Though they would face many challenges, including the terrifying experience of throwing their luggage overboard and surviving stories of families drowning trying to escape, they were lucky enough to arrive in Hong Kong safely and eventually settle in Los Angeles. This new beginning allowed Julie to receive vital eye surgery to correct her vision, but she was left classified as legally blind. Constantly excluded from activities, she was intent on achieving great things to prove her worth.

Julie’s Unwavering Determination

Growing up with immigrant parents who barely spoke English, legal blindness, and school bullying, Julie faced many challenges. However, she never let these burdens hold her back. Julie’s unwavering determination led her to incredible academic success, including graduating from Harvard Law School, and solo traveling to all seven continents. Her travels not only brought calmness to her soul and instilled a love of humanity, but also tested her physical and emotional strength. Through it all, Julie’s ambition and determination never wavered, making her a true inspiration.

A Life Full of Love and Loss

With a passion for traveling, Julie left her hometown to explore the world. After returning home, she built a successful career as a lawyer in New York City and found love with Josh. They had two beautiful daughters, but Julie’s life would take an unexpected turn as she was diagnosed with cancer. Despite her diagnosis, Julie found joy in being a mother and making lasting memories with her family. Her story is a reminder of the beauty and fragility of life and the importance of cherishing every moment.

A Joyful Wedding Turned Nightmare

Julie’s attendance at her cousin’s wedding in LA took a turn for the worse when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Despite experiencing stomach discomfort before the wedding, she flew to LA with a positive attitude. However, upon arriving, her pain intensified, causing her father to rush her to the emergency room. After a successful surgery to remove the tumor, Julie was devastated to learn that she had stage IV cancer due to metastatic spread. She immediately began chemotherapy, which brought about a new set of challenges and struggles.

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