Oliver Sacks professor of neurology at the New York University School of Medicine, and the author of many books, including “Awakenings” and “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” today wrote a beautiful, wise and heart-warming letter sharing the news that he has been diagnosed with a form of cancer that gives him months to live.
He says, very simply that his luck has run out: he is one of only 2% whose ocular melanoma metastases. There is something self-deprecating, humble and brutally honest about attributing one’s own death as being due to bad luck. We are no more or less important than the chances that govern the nature of being and not-being. Sacks frames both the nature of life and its demise in positive terms. He’s grateful for what has been and what awaits:
Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.
On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.