After a long time, at least a few years since I’ve read a posthumous biography, I completely lived this book for four days non-stop. This is a life that changes you profoundly, it teaches you how to live, in fact remaining yourself as you were before you read him is simply not an option.
Paul’s writing is stunning. It sucks you into his personality so powerfully that you are him as you read the book.
Allow me to share that for the longest part of my childhood I wanted to be a surgeon…I think since 4 until 18 years….and when I read him I felt that dream, that miscarriage of an aspiration back in full force. At least I still live. To see that such a superior mind battled tirelessly with death, in hope, in anger, in fatigue and in desperation chills you to the core. It makes you want to work for cancer cures…it reminds you that this disease has taken great minds before, and it will insidiously and stealthily take them again…with its characteristic disgusting speed and silence..
read this passage that I am posting…
“Neurosurgery requires a commitment to one’s own excellence and a commitment to another’s identity…The decision to operate at all involves an appraisal of one’s own abilities, as well as a deep sense of who the patient is and what she holds dear.”
A person who can think this way of his work, his life purpose, in such intimate terms for his patients…Why did he go so early?
Is there a parallel universe out there that needs him more?
Is it that he was so brilliant that his acme as a Soul was reached and someone got bored enough to snuff his life out?
Is it that a disease just crept in to destroy in jealousy such a talent?
Is it that this Soul is so special that he will touch the lives of people like me, and others likewise; in such an intense bond of words?
if there is ever a respect and a deep regret for someone you haven’t even met, this is truly it…
This is a person that will scorch you, touch you in ways you haven’t seen at all with his courage, and that will live inside your darkest moments; egging you on to get up until the very last breath….
just last year, this mind was struggling in the last throes of life…and we all lived normally in ignorance of such a great soul….
Why did you go Paul?
The neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi Iearned he had lung cancer when he was 35 and died two years later, in March 2015. “When Breath Becomes Air” is his meditation on the reversal of roles when a doctor becomes a patient. It has an aura of the best kind of earnest conversation that kept you up all night in your early adulthood — but it transcends that potential callowness with its Keatsian sense of impending mortality. Kalanithi died too soon to recant the insights that come with the gradual discovery of one’s own consciousness, and his book is suffused with a proleptic nostalgia for a youth still in its efflorescence. That truncated youth is touched with youth’s particular wisdom.