A thought provoking book
A versatile vest
photo from Jordan
I can’t remember the last book I devoured as quickly as When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. I fought back, hard, against the tears that wanted to pour from my eyes as I read his wife, Lucy’s, epilogue at the conclusion of the book on the airplane.
This may be the kind of book you want to finish in private, so you can just cry.
I heard about this book through Joanna Goddard, the blogger at A Cup of Joe, a blog I’ve read on and off for about a year or so. Paul was her brother-in-law, he married Joanna’s twin sister. So I felt a little bit of familiarity in reading it, knowing who Joanna is through her blog.
I also felt an unusual connection given Justin’s health situation, which you can watch here. Justin’s is so far in the opposite direction from Paul’s illness that the only thing that could possibly bind the two is that their disease both starts with the letter “c”. Other than that, they’ve had nearly opposite circumstances with it.
It is unimaginable to me, even after reading his book which walked the reader through much of his internal dialogue, how one endures such a grueling sickness. I just can’t imagine how every moment of your day would be immediately affected upon discovering the news.
It left a heavy feeling in my heart, but one I appreciated time to mull over while I was alone on the airplane.
It made me think about the kinds of things I would look back on in my life with fondness, and the things that would suddenly mean absolutely nothing to me, if I were in a situation like Paul, or even Lucy.
My list of meaningful moments or people grew short. My boys, my husband, my family, and my family-like friends. They would be at the center of cherished memories of events or even non-events like a typical Wednesday night at home, giving the boys a bath, feeding Luke a bottle and watching him bury his face in his blue blanket, all while David and Justin compete to surpass the amount of laughter they shared from the night before during bedtime.
And I also thought through a list of things that would, in a blink, suddenly hold no worth. And it was a good lesson in really evaluating what I’m putting emphasis on in my life right now. I’m a thinker, and often my day to day is so busy that I don’t take much time to really think, so I’m grateful for the perspective and reminder that this book provided for me.
I loved that Paul wrote about how much he wanted to write a book, in his book. It made me feel proud that he was able to do it before his death. He accomplished so, so much in his life, and his book is absolutely worth a read.
For another book review, see here.