A handsome spy who escapes a life of espionage then travels the world, fell in love with a beautiful woman, and created decades of beautiful memories, only to have dementia slowly erase a lifetime’s worth of adventures and experiences.
What a remarkable story, right? It’s so compelling that you might even think that it could be a heartwarming action love story on the big screen. But this is the true story of Sarah Dayan Mueller’s late father, who passed away over a year ago.
Sarah’s mother is from the Philippines and her father was a Jewish Egyptian, they fell in love in Hong Kong, spoke 6 languages between them, and traveled the world together. They finally settled in New York, where her father climbed the corporate ladder as an immigrant in the banking industry.
Before her father’s prosperous life in the U.S., his early life in Egypt wasn’t easy as he was growing up during the height of a growing resistance against the Jews. His older cousin guided him while he was growing up, unfortunately, lost contact but spends the rest of his life trying to find his beloved cousin again.
Later on, her father slowly loses his memories to Alzheimer’s disease, and as he struggles to hold onto a lifetime’s worth of experiences, he was also scared that he will one day forget his cousin before ever finding him again, “If there is one thing I learned about Alzheimer’s disease through his years-long struggle with it,” says Sarah, “is how important it is to remember that a person’s life is not defined by dementia, but more so by the beautiful life that happened before it.”
She remembers her father as a person who didn’t have any angry mood swings or memory loss, but instead full of exciting journeys around the world and the purest love she has ever known. He was her strongest supporter and greatest encourager in life, “He read every piece of writing I ever created because he was my biggest fan, and I wrote this story of his beautiful life because I’m his biggest fan too.”
While the final days of her father’s life quietly approached in the year 2020, Sarah was able to relive his life adventures as she wrote his story with him, however, “He passed away before he got the chance to sit on the couch one more time to read this novel or see it published and on the shelves at Barnes & Noble.”
In 2021, she took the wild leap of faith as a new writer and finally introduced her father’s greatest life story and published the book Home in a Hundred Places.
When Sarah sometimes misses her father’s laughter or gentle words of encouragement, she flips open to a random page of his story and reads it, “It’s been over a year since my Dad passed away, but his life and legacy continues to breathe through the chapters and pages and words I’m so thankful to have written.”
Sarah continue to inspire people through writing, and later that year published her second book Greater than the Still, a novel about a woman called Juliette Laredo, a New Yorker who is on the verge of deciding to return to a stable career as a mental health counselor or follow her newly discovered passion as a pastry chef.
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