I came across the obituary of the great neurologist Oliver Sacks in the Times this morning. Although I have not studied or read any of his work I have come across his name referenced many times in my reading over the years. Recently I have listened to and greatly enjoyed the Radio 4 readings of his autobiography; On The Move.
The obituary quotes a piece, written by Sacks for the New York Times after being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2014, that I think is wonderful.
After confessing that he had given up following the news and worrying about big issues like the Middle East and climate change, to which he had devoted years of study he wrote:
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 the 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. I cannot pretend I am without fear, but my predominant feeling is one of gratitude
RIP Oliver Sacks