Reviewer June Maffin:Living on an island in British Columbia, Canada, Dr. Maffin is a neophyte organic gardener, eclectic reader, ordained minister (Anglican/Episcopal priest) and creative spirituality writer/photographer with a deep zest for life. Previously, she has been grief counselor, broadcaster, teacher, journalist, television host, chaplain and spiritual director with an earned doctorate in Pastoral Care (medical ethics i.e. euthanasia focus). Presently an educator, freelance editor, blogger, and published author of three books, her most recent (Soulistry-Artistry of the Soul: Creative Ways to Nurture your Spirituality) has been published in e-book as well as paperback format and a preview can be viewed on YouTube videos. Founder of Soulistry™ she continues to lead a variety of workshops and retreats connecting spirituality with creativity and delights in a spirituality of play. You can find out more about June by clicking on her Web Site.
Author: Paul Kalanithi
Forward by Abraham Vergese
Publisher: Random House
Paul Kalanithi’s life was lived fully. It ended far too early.
Thirty-six years of age, a
husband and new first-time father, Paul Kalanithi was on the verge of
completing his training as a neurosurgeon when he was diagnosed with
Stage Four lung cancer. As his role as doctor morphed into the
role of patient (which he described as “the sheep, lost and
confused”), Kalanithi confronted his own mortality and struggled
with the physical and metaphysical aspects of dying in ways that
transformed his life.
Weaving the discipline of science, his love of literature and spirituality, and decades of education and training which often found him at the bedside of the terminally ill, the author was fully aware of the bleak future he was facing: “Doctors, as it turns out, need hope, too.”
In this profoundly moving Memoir, readers come face to face with the inevitable challenge of their own mortality. As the author poignantly shares his personal story of fear, suffering and clinical awareness of what lay ahead, his question: “What, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” becomes the question for each reader.
When he thought he couldn’t go on, Kalanithi found encouragement in the seven renowned words of Irish writer, poet and playwright Samuel Beckett”: “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” And so “on” went the author, constantly reminding himself that “death may be a one-time event, but living with terminal illness is a process.”
Sensitive readers might find this heartbreakingly candid book to be overly frank about lung cancer and particular medical processes. But to look beyond the graphic and sometimes brutal details is to discover an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of death written by a brilliant writer.
Always interested in death
as a philosophical problem, it was not until his diagnosis that the
author realized the purpose for his own life: “Life is not about
avoiding suffering. It’s about creating meaning” wrote his
wife Dr. Lucy (Goddard) Kalanithi on his behalf.
Because Paul didn’t survive long enough to finish the book, his wife completed it in equally as brilliant a piece of writing as her husband’s and the Forward by physician, teacher and author, Abraham Verghese.
Paul Kalanithi’s life was a life of grace and readers will find in it, hope for the journey which none can escape - each must face.