When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air by Stanford University neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi is one of the most profound and deeply moving books that I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.  I wanted to write a full review of the physician’s account of his struggle with lung cancer however I realized that whatever praise I could bestow would be inadequate.    Therefore I’ll limit this post to a single quote from a father to his infant daughter. 

There is perhaps only one thing to say to this infant, who is all future, overlapping briefly with me, whose life, barring the improbable, is all but past.  That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.

                                                                                                        -Paul Kalanithi

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