Hereditary sloth instructs me

On death and Oliver Sacks

Like you I also read the NYT piece by Oliver Sacks on Friday which announced that his terminally ill cancer was exactly that, plus the matter-of-fact but emotional way in which he’s preparing for death. It’s highly recommended reading from a great human being, but what I’d also like to point you towards is an article about that Sacks article, written by Dr. Ranjana Srivastava in The Graun today Saturday, because it’s wonderful. Once you’ve done with the Sacks piece make the point of reading Dr. Srivastava’s, its insight is exceptional. A single excerpt, but it’s tempting to quote whole chunks here it’s that good:

And then, he says something utterly obvious and yet, thoroughly remarkable: “I could deny it before but I know I am ill now.”

In a piece of achingly beautiful writing, this observation may bypass the typical outsider but as an oncologist, it struck me as the essence of what it takes to die well – the concession that all the well-intentioned therapy in the world can no longer prevent one from going down the irreversible trajectory of death.

Read it all here, you’ll be smarter about death afterwards. After all, it’s something we all have in common.

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