Pack Up the Moon
Updated: May 6, 2022
One of the things that might not be immediately obvious about PACK UP THE MOON is that it’s a book about marriage, and how to do it right. Josh and Lauren are happily married in the kind of easy, uncomplicated way that I think love should be. They are each other’s favorite person, immediately committed to each other. There’s no waffling for either of them, no “I’m not sure if I’m ready” or “He’ll change once we’re married” kind of thing. They know each other, enjoy the same things, accept each other’s flaws, and are each other’s biggest fans. They love each other’s families. As it should be.
This year, of course, my daughter is getting married, just three days before PACK UP THE MOON is released. This year also, McIrish and I will celebrate thirty years of an overwhelmingly happy, solid marriage. And this year, I’ve written a book about a newlywed couple facing a terminal illness, determined to enjoy every drop of happiness they can possibly create, despite the knowledge that their marriage will be short.
Because I’ve envisioned my own death daily since I was about seven, I gave Josh and Lauren all the things I’d want if I had a terminal disease. A supportive group of family and friends. Interesting, rewarding jobs. A great apartment and vibrant city to live in. Fabulous vacation spots. A rooftop garden.
Sure, there are those irritating people thrown in for fun—Mean Debbie, the gossiping “friend” who uses Lauren as inspiration porn. Lori Cantore, Lauren’s coworker who’s already vying for Lauren’s office. The mom who, upon hearing that her daughter has pulmonary fibrosis, says, “How can you do this to me?”
Mostly, though, they have great friends and family—Lauren’s sister, Jen. Joshua’s mom and his “extra” parents. Josh and Lauren travel to beautiful places and do some exciting things—Lauren is a bit of a thrill-seeker, though Josh is not. They rent a house on the ocean on Cape Cod (my favorite place!), have lots of company and get a puppy. Lauren knows her illness is going to steal her future, but she’s sure as hell won’t let it steal her present.
When I had decided to write a book about this topic, I looked for documentaries about people living with a terminal illness. One of the shows I came upon was called My Last Days. It followed people who knew how they’d slip this mortal coil…people who were incredibly happy, positive and…fun. One couple in particular was so irreverent and so goofily adoring toward each other, I kind of fell in love with them. The show’s description says these people believe “a limited amount of time is not a barrier to making a positive impact on the world.”
How can they be so happy? Because they choose to be that way.
My kind of people.
If you preorder the book, I donate my proceeds to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. They ask for the donor name, and I put down “Kristan Higgins Readers.” Thank you for giving me this career, and the chance to give back to this very best of causes. No child is ever turned away from St. Jude’s because of an inability to pay. And for PACK UP THE MOON, it feels especially relevant to support kids facing a terminal illness. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.