Neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi passed away because of lung cancer in 2015. His memoir, “When Breath Becomes Air” was unputdownable. It was sincere, thoughtful and coming from a point of boundless authenticity. Instead of drowning herself in funeral songs about the loss of a spouse, his widow, Lucy Kalanithi bravely went on a book tour. She read excerpts from her husband’s book and talked about the bitter-sweet experiences of using that as a process to heal.

“Paul died nearly 11 months ago, but being able to talk about how I feel and remember Paul is actually very healing for me. So it’s actually kind of wonderful at the same time.”- Dr. Lucy Kalanithi 

“I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . . Part of this book’s tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him—passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die—so well. – Janet Maslin, The New York Times

It was inherently heartwarming to recently read a story about Dr. Lucy meeting one John Duberstein whose poet wife Nina Riggs had also passed away and written a beautiful memoir. Personal tragedies perhaps played a big part in joining these two strangers in a single zone of healing and comfort.

Here’s the full story as reported by the Washington Post.

Also read: Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s full funeral obituary

Featured image via Cup of Jo