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Paul Kalanithi Quotes

11 of the best book quotes from Paul Kalanithi
  1. #1
    “We often sneaked out at night to, for example, sing ‘American Pie’ beneath the window of the captain of the cheerleading team. (Her father was a local minister and so, we reasoned, less likely to shoot). After I was caught returning at dawn from one such late-night escapade, my worried mother thoroughly interrogated me regarding every drug teenagers take, never suspecting that the most intoxicating thing I’d experienced, by far, was the volume of romantic poetry she’d handed me the previous week.”
  2. #2
    “I expected to feel only empty and heartbroken after Paul died. It never occurred to me that you could love someone the same way after he was gone.”
  3. #3
    “I recall the sun filtering through the magnolia tree outside my office and lighting this scene: Paul seated before me, his beautiful hands exceedingly still, his prophet’s beard full, those dark eyes taking the measure of me . . . I remember thinking ‘You must remember this,’ because what was falling on my retina was precious. And because, in the context of Paul’s diagnosis, I became aware of not just his mortality but my own.”
  4. #4
    “I sat, staring at a photo of Lucy and me from medical school, dancing and laughing; it was so sad, those two, planning a life together, unaware, never suspecting their own fragility.”
  5. #5
    “When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.”
  6. #6
    “Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.”
  7. #7
    “There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.”
  8. #8
    “The tricky part of illness is that, as you go through it, your values are constantly changing. You try to figure out what matters to you, and then you keep figuring it out. It felt like someone had taken away my credit card and I was having to learn how to budget. You may decide you want to spend your time working as a neurosurgeon, but two months later, you may feel differently. Two months after that, you may want to learn to play the saxophone or devote yourself to the church. Death may be a one-time event, but living with terminal illness is a process.”
  9. #9
    “I knew medicine only by its absence—specifically, the absence of a father growing up, one who went to work before dawn and returned in the dark to a plate of reheated dinner.”
  10. #10
    “It’s very easy to be number one: find the guy who is number one, and score one point higher than he does.”
  11. #11
    “Being with patients in these moments certainly had its emotional cost, but it also had its rewards. I don’t think I ever spent a minute of any day wondering why I did this work, or whether it was worth it.”

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