We are talking about the read that left even Bill Gates in tears. Although there are other books as those written by Mark Manson that talk about what values should be considered in life and Tuesdays with Morrie that talk about mortality, they are relatively stale but this story of a neuroseurgeon being diagnosed with lung cancer at the pinnacle of his career and his transition from a doctor to patient and his approach towards death takes you on a ride of emotions each having it’s own shade.
You’ll cry tears of joy and grief, relish a tinge of love in every act of selflessness, live the elatedness that comes with success, and the humility that comes with seeing sufferings. Most ironically how the sense of impending departure brings back together a couple who is on verge of parting ways.As someone who had devoted a lifetime to uncover the reality of mortality and to learn to face their own, Paul made his moments count.
As Paul’s wife mentions in the epilogue that in his last months, he was singularly focused on finishing the manuscript and he had so limited time that he never got the chance to go through it again. This gives rise to a narrative that is as real as possible – brief and yet very deep. His honesty reflects the combination of strength and vulnerability in his personality, something that in my opinion is never glorified enough.
Specially for men, they are always expected to face everything audaciously, even when the world comes crashing down on them. No one of us is limitless. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be fearful. It’s okay to express your love to your family. You may not want to call him dauntless, but he was just as brave.
Although after being diagnosed, Paul mentions having lost the trajectory along which, the lives of his other colleagues went on, and as much terribly painful and saddening it is for someone who had a future as promising as him in front of him, i always thought he never lost his trajectory.
He simply shifted from one to another. The horizontal axis with time shrank. The vertical axis shifted from clinical practise to other values like spending time loving his family, getting to see the birth of his daughter and penning down his narrative, the trajectory was still quite there.
He seeked eternity in mortality – this is honour.
He sang the song of life – That is bravery.
He lived the essence of it – That is victory.
As someone who tried to find meaning of life through relating literature and science, he ended up writing a book and i can’t stress this enough how grand of a literary feast this book is. Not only the choice of words and metaphors but also the emotion that comes woven with each paragraph is something that definitely resonates.
To summarize, i would say this is a must read because it is a complete package – precise, pensive and pragmatic narrative woven into flowery language that will attract any literature aficionado out there.
May our inconsequential existence gives rise to something that stays. For the body vanishes, but the spirit continues to linger. The vibe stays. As it seems to happen, life is not about just passing the jam. It’s about what fills your lungs with air, what makes your heart race, even in the face of impending closure. Always find that air.
Author: Wardah Ahmed
Rotaract club of Ayub medical college
RID # 3272