Gratitude and the Dignity of Dying

Renowned neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks, the bestselling author of Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, writes in the New York Times, upon learning of his terminal cancer diagnosis at the age of eighty-one,

I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers. 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.

Sacks famously noted, “my predominant feeling is one of gratitude.”

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