When I think “a star coming apart” I think of the Hubble Telescope and beautiful Soli Deo gloria pictures of deep space.
But the imagery here is just brutal.
I’m not going to lie, I feel like at one point in my life this kind of thing would have been easy to be callous about.
But being a parent now changes it.
Many lingering thoughts like this make it easier to picture yourself willing to rip your own arm off.
This has broader implications too.
Lord, spare more people this.
Any major illness transforms a patient’s—really, an entire family’s—life. But brain diseases have the additional strangeness of the esoteric. A son’s death already defies the parents’ ordered universe; how much more incomprehensible is it when the patient is brain-dead, his body warm, his heart still beating? The root of disaster means a star coming apart, and no image expresses better the look in a patient’s eyes when hearing a neurosurgeon’s diagnosis.
-Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air (Amazon)