What if you exactly know how much time you are going to live in this world? What if you know the exact time after which you can’t do anything more because of your physical/mental upheaval? There are things you know that are not the best for your health and there would be disastrous effects? Will you linger doing the same? what will your death note be?
Sorry to start off with these negative vibes but do you introspect these thoughts and make the best of your life? This is the notion which came to my mind when I first started reading and finding the meaning of ‘When Breath becomes Air’ By Paul Kalanithi.
Paul was once a doctor who used to see CT scans of his patients until one day he had to see his own reports. One day he was a doctor, the other day he was the patient. He discovered he has only some time to live and now it’s the end, or is it?
As I started reading the book prologue, I found it difficult to keep reading on. When you want to say that you are not okay to the person who wishes you to be okay and joyful every day. How tough it would really be? The companionship you intend in life is best measured in your tough times.
Paul took up writing his book on his death bed and now it’s a best seller for the same reason. Anthony Berges was 40 when he understood that he had cancer and had only one year to live. He was broke and he knew that his wife would be a widow now and her life would be a ruin. He started a new life in writing and finished 5 and a half novels in one year and eventually cancer bowed down to him and disappeared- call it the will of faith. He further wrote 70 books.
what would you have done if you were in his place? would you have not given up?
Paul gives an insight on 5 stages of grief: Denial–> Anger–> Bargaining –> Depression –> Acceptance and guess what? most of us do it backwards. The more you are wise, the faster you reach acceptance.
In terms of believing in faith- there is no proof of God; therefore, it is unreasonable not to believe in god. If you were to believe that science provides no basis for god, then you are almost obligated to conclude that science provides no basis for meaning and, therefore, life itself doesn’t have any.
While you are not sure about destiny- but one thing is sure; you can enjoy the expedition. Indeed, it’s the same reason that Bhagwat Gita advocates us to enjoy the voyage and forget the destination. Books are my closest confidants, finely ground lenses providing new views of the world. We are never so wise as when we live in the moment.
There are times when we should live as death’s envoy instead of its enemy- embrace it with open hands. Sometimes we live so long that we want to die. Sometimes we live so short, that we want to live longer. What is the middle point? we live a life like we live forever and we live a life like we will die tomorrow.
How often do we mock or judge others based on what they say, write or act? Will we do the same when you can feel their tragic lives? We do come with pains right when we are born- we cry. Is it the motion we underdetermine? The pain of birth and death is relatively and mostly the same.
When Lucy (Paul’s wife) in his death bed asked “Can you breathe okay with my head on your chest like this? His answer was ” It’s the only way I know how to breathe”.