Have you ever read a book that took your breath away? Last week I read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Paul was 36 years old, working as a neurosurgeon, when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. His doctor, refusing to give him a length of time he had left, instead encouraged him to find what mattered most to him and focus on that. What came from this, as he transitioned from doctor to patient, was this captivating memoir that he never finished, it was published after he passed...
I read this book in two days, utterly moved by the way he wrote and described himself - from details of operating on a brain to how he felt after learning he had cancer. Paul took an often avoided subject: death; and shared his thoughts on accepting death at the height of his career and his search for finding meaning in life.
I began to realize that coming in such close contact with my own mortality had changed both nothing and everything. Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn't know when. After the diagnosis , I knew that someday I would die, but I didn't know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn't really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.
Eight months after his diagnosis, Paul wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times titled How Long Have I Got Left? It's an interesting read and one I suggest, especially if you're unsure whether or not you'd like to read his book. This book, without a doubt, does not shy away from the fact that death is inevitable but it brings a new depth to it that I believe most people never think of.
I've never read anything so beautiful, enduring, and so unbelievably honest. I cannot recommend this book enough.
I'm a twenty-something mama who honestly has no clue what I want to do in life at the moment. For the longest time that scared me but now I embracing it and documenting it here.