Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7 (NIV)
“With what strife and pains we come into the world we know not,
but ’tis commonly no easy matter to get out of it.”
quote from Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici
There are stories that are “awesome”…filled with the spiritual awe of a purpose driven life. When Breath Becomes Air is one of those stories . It is more than a memoir, but a call to all of us as we face the uncertainties of life. We meet that call in the agent/patient, Paul Kalanithi, MD. and his wife, Lucy Kalanithi, MD. The uniqueness of Paul Kalanithi’s report is his ability to tell two stories of a healing agent and patient at the same time. His double vision is a gift to us all.
The take away for me is his understanding of the connectedness found in the doctor/patient dyad. He is able to describe the interactions with clarity and care. It is a conversation that will inspire you and bring you to tears. Abraham Verghese’s report is “there was an honesty, a truth in the writing that took my breath away.”
Another breathless moment is provided by Paul’s wife, Lucy, in an epilogue that underscores the context of love that was rediscovered and continues to sustain her. It is going to take time for me to “catch my breath” and find the pearls that I missed with the first reading.
Kalanithi, Paul (2016-01-12). When Breath Becomes Air (p. 53). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Hage M.L. 2012. Hope.