When Breath Becomes Air: A Book About Living


Sometimes while driving, I crank up CBC radio in order to listen to a particular interview and this morning there was one that I continued to take in, even upon the arrival to my destination. I turned off the car in the parking lot and continued to listen until the very end of the interview…24 minutes of important listening.  I hope that you have that much time to listen to this conversation between host, Shadrach Kabango, and Lucy Kalanithi, wife of Paul Kalanithi, writer of recently published biography, When Breath Becomes Air.

There are several topics within this conversation that, I feel, impact me while I continue to journey the loss of my mother and the more recent passing of my uncle.  I have no difficulty acknowledging my own mortality, but I do have anxiety sometimes about making meaning and living life to its fullest while I am able.  My father calls it tenacity, but I do feel driven, most of the time, to contribute to this plane, somehow, not always in ways that others expect or anticipate of me, but certainly in ways that I find satisfying.

There is a powerful connection that I feel as I hear Lucy’s articulation of her ideas and her sense of obligation to her husband.

I’m including here, titles of the three books that Paul packed into his bag as he headed for the hospital, once diagnosed with an aggressive lung cancer.

Mere Christianity by CS Lewis

Being and Time by Martin Heidegger

Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

A highly educated man, at the end of his academic journey as a neurosurgeon, Paul, in the writing of his first and final book, a biography titled When Breath Becomes Air inspires me to strive, extend and reach harder in all aspects of my life.

Following the program, I headed for my usual exploration of nature and immediately noticed within me, a sense of gratitude and happiness.  It was a beautiful morning!

Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Happiness Frank's and Gillian 001Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Happiness Frank's and Gillian 009

I left my morning walk at the pond and headed for the book store where I bought, for the first time in years, a brand new book for myself!

When Breath Becomes Air





On days when I feel zonked, I will keep in mind the words of Samuel Beckett,

“I Can’t Go On: I’ll Go On”



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