Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.
Only 6 months ago Oliver Sacks wrote those words when he announced he has terminal cancer.
Now, he has passed.
It’s difficult to express my sadness for an inspiration of this magnitude. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat was special in many ways. For one, it was penned by the brilliant hand of Mr Sacks so its prose was impeccable and rhythmic. More importantly, he focused on the humanity of his patients more than any one I’ve ever read or spoken too. I felt a connection with many of them and their condition somehow became less important the more I read.
They weren’t freak-shows, idiot savants or the terribly unlucky who society can do nothing for. They were people with interests, motivations and personality. Sacks spent time with the person rather than just their condition.
In his announcement of terminal cancer, he wrote that he feels intensely alive and feels sudden focus and clarity. The distractions have fallen away as he hopes to focus on himself, his friends and his work. An amazing thing for some one who is face to face with death.
Now he is gone, I want to say thank you once more. Thank you for your writings. Thank you for your crystal clear humanity. Thank you for giving your readers strength during your most difficult time.
Thank you, Oliver Sacks. It’s been an enormous privilege.
My Own Life – Oliver Sacks on Learning he has terminal cancer