When Breath Becomes Air – Erickson Media


When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air

Haunting and beautiful


The question is not simply whether to live or die but what kind of life is worth living.

What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?

There is perhaps only one thing to say to this infant, who is all future, overlapping briefly with me, whose life, barring the improbable, is all but past. That message is simple:

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.
~ When Breath Becomes Air

(Paul Kalanithi, writing to his infant daughter shortly before his death from metastatic lung cancer at the age of 37)