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More of a Love Letter Than a Memoir: Greg Payan's Please Stay


More of a Love Letter Than a Memoir: Greg Payan's Please Stay

Book details the story of Holly Hillgardner's recovery from a ruptured brain aneurysm and the tender and lonely moments of her now-husband Greg's caregiving journey.

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Sept. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- "80 percent of people die from a grade IV brain hemorrhage.  Of those that live, 80 percent wish they had died."  Greg Payan heard these words during his wife's recovery from a brain aneurysm, and Please Stay recounts the journey of a healthy 39-year old college professor struck down by a sudden, near fatal brain aneurysm.  By some estimates, 1 in 50 Americans has a brain aneurysm and September is Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month.   

"The book is touching and engrossing, and much more than a memoir of an illness, telling a timeless story of a devotion among family and friends. The story becomes less about one couple than a universal story of endurance and love, which is at once harrowing and inspiring. Please Stay is a powerful message of love in the face of tragedy and how in times of hardship, people can rally around each other to reveal a deeper humanity." Self-Publishing Review

Readers learn about Holly through letters sent by close friends and former students, who sent memories to be read at her bedside while she was on a respirator, fighting for her life, about the impact she had on their lives. They plead with her not to die through their words and share what she means to them.

"As anyone who has suffered the shocking loss or illness of a loved one will tell you, time is precious. This is a lovely meditation on that theme, a way to try and get to the bottom of that most complex idea - the "accident," the bolt out of the blue, the unforeseen event." (James Hartley Books)

Please Stay is both an extremely compelling story and an interesting story-telling methodology. A multiple-perspective take on a life-threatening situation, it documents love and luck in a hospital in New York in a real-time narrative as things unfolded. The story is told through actual correspondence which updated friends, colleagues and loved ones through long emails at the end of each of 24 ICU days; text messages sent back and forth among loved ones; and photos documenting events as Holly fought to live.

"Heartbreaking and heart-lifting." (Reader Views)

The reader experiences the fears and prayers of Holly's loved ones who come to the realization that she may eventually recover but be left compromised, potentially losing her writing and teaching career as a professor in West Virginia and altering irrevocably her myriad relationships.

Greg Payan was born and raised in Queens, NY. While currently working full time as a journalist, fate intervened when his then partner, now wife, was struck by a sudden brain hemorrhage. He detailed the health crisis in his memoir, Please Stay (2018), his only full-length book.

Please Stay is a book that one person described as 'more of a love letter at times, than a memoir.' It's a unique story of love and survival that speaks to people across boundaries of health and wellness; a story of faith and hope and love. Replete with tender anecdotes, the book calls readers to question their own legacies and to celebrate their lives and the love of the people in them.

If you would like more information or photos about Please Stay or would like to interview Greg Payan, please contact his publicist at

Jennifer Musico

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