When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a treasure of a book! I'm so glad I read it and let it touch my heart.
The author, a neurosurgeon resident, wrote this book as he battled terminal illness with lung cancer. Paul Kalanithi shares some of his personal life experiences and his questions relating to the meaning of life and the human struggle with death. His wife's epilogue brought me the most tears.
My favorite excerpts:
pg. 98 - "...in taking up another's cross, one must sometimes get crushed by the weight."
pg. 172 - "Struggle toward the capital-T Truth, but recognize that the task is impossible--or that if a correct answer is possible, verification certainly is impossible. In the end, it cannot be doubted that each of us can see only a part of the picture...the doctor..the patient...the engineer...the economist...the pearl diver...the alcoholic...the cable bguy...the sheep farmer...the Indian beggar...the pastor...It ([truth] grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete. And Truth comes somewhere above all of them..."
pg. 215 - "Paul's decision not to avert his eyes from death epitomizes a fortitude we don't celebrate enough in our death-avoidant culture."
pg. 216 - "Writing this book was a chance for this courageous seer to be a sayer, to teach us to face death with integrity."
pg. 216 - "...we knew that one trick to managing a terminal illness is to be deeply in love--to be vulnerable, kind, generous, grateful."
pg. 219 - "Paul faced each stage of his illness with grace--not with bravado or a misguided faith that he would "overcome" or "beat" cancer but with an authenticity that allowed him to grieve the loss of the future he had planned and forge a new one...Even while terminally ill, Paul was fully alive; despite physical collapse, he remained vigorous, open, full of hope not for an unlikely cure but for days that were full of purpose and meaning."
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