Daily Archives: April 4, 2015

Essays of the Dying: Neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi

The thirty-seven year old Stanford neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi died from cancer a few weeks ago, but not before he made the beautiful video above and penned a moving essay to his infant daughter. (Here is his obituary from the Stanford Medicine news center.)

What I found most moving was Dr. Kalanithi’s beautiful description about the inexorable passage of time. Its fleeting, ephemeral nature. No wonder the Buddhists think of change as one of the 3 marks of existence. There is something about one’s impending death that reveals something essential about a person’s nature. (I have written about this previously regarding the last words of Roger Ebert and Oliver Sacks and David Hume.) And the video and essay reveal Dr. Kalanithi to have been a thoughtful, loving, and courageous man.