A stranger's words on mortality

1:17:00 PM

A stranger's words on mortality | Awesome in Manila
photograph: Jacob Walti

In this week's issue of The Collective, I shared a New York Times article written by terminally ill-NYU professor Oliver Sacks. Today, I have yet another one (actually, make that three) tackling the mortality of man and, this time, it's by someone who's already passed on.

I was deeply moved by the words Stanford neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi left his infant daughter. Lifting from the obituary posted on his sister-in-law Joanna Goddard's blog, I hope you find inspiration from it as well:

"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."

The statement is originally part of Before I Go, written by Paul himself for Stanford Medicine. He had another one, How Long Have I Got Left? for the New York Times. It might take you a while to read everything, but I implore you to set aside some time. The story of Paul Kalanithi, though I've only known of him recently and impersonally and a little too late, is definitely worth it.

The days are indeed long and the years much, much shorter.
Paul Kalanithi, MD, succumbed to advanced lung cancer at age 37, on March 9, 2015.

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