When Breath Becomes Air


A good book to read and feel with the author; a book that resonates with his life in his own voice.

You may choose how you are going to deal with every situation, and how you are going to feel about it– but if you are a dying man, it is different– difficult, if you have to appreciate some meaning from your life, when you wake up with a sudden diagnosis of a terminal disease at a young age, before you reach the full potential.

The author was a neurosurgical chief resident, following 10 years of (relentless) training; determined to persevere, he genuinely seeked a deeper understanding of a life of the mind. Then, cancer came along with its imposing pain and limits your energy all of a sudden.

What are you going to do? Enjoying the flowers that are there for your pleasure??

“Cease Not till Death” was the second (and the last) chapter of his book, which began with the first chapter “In Perfect Health I Begin”. But the author, the dying man, indeed seemed to have enjoyed one human flower– day by day, week to week, Cady, his newly born infant daughter, blossomed. His message to his daughter, Cady:

“When you come to one of the many moments in life where you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.”

I expected some more pages before the ending, but then it was the Epilogue right after that page, written by his wife, because he was no more. It was very sad, and humbling, brought a tear to my eye. It was a book that resonates with his life in his own voice.