When Breath Becomes Air


“We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.”

Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

Paul Kalanithi did not live to enter his fourth decade. Instead he let his words carry his thoughts forward into the years ahead.

“When Breath Becomes Air” resonates deep within our subconscious, for it reminds us that we are finite creatures that have been given an uncertain time frame.  We are born into an existence that gives us limited knowledge of the future and faint understanding of our memories of the past.. We are given the present, with each intake and exhale of breath.

Life gives us moments.  It is a gift that I accept with gratitude and hope. It is easy to slip into remembering the past or worrying about future events that may or may not become a reality.

As Paul Kalanithi reminds us, “We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.”



    1. Clanmother

      You would enjoy this book. I was amazed by the detailed account of his feelings and experiences. Strength comes even in our weakest moments. The family dynamics during this time were inspiring. Where there is love, there is hope.


  1. Letizia

    I was so touched by the second half of this book (the first half was more of medical school, etc memoir which I have read before). How do we confront our mortality – it’s such a profound question and one that changes how we live day to day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother

      I agree, Letizia. I recall my doctor remarking that “no one leaves this world alive.” Many time we live our lives in a way that death is perceived as an event that may or may not happen. As Woody Allen once wrote, “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” I agree with you – a profound question that changes how we live day to day. It makes the moments come alive with possibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gallivanta

    I came here to read about this extraordinary man and then got lost in The Rainbow Comes and Goes. There should be a little warning on your blog “Come prepared with a cup of tea; you may be here a while.” 😀 Lovely!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother

      You always make my day pure sunshine. I have be remiss in writing about what I’ve been reading. More to come. I was thinking about “back in the day” when I was reading Nancy Drew mysteries and my concern that I would run out of these marvelous stories. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who have chosen a writer’s life. What joy they give to readers.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. cindy knoke

    My comment got deleted by the WP gnomes. Maybe it will reappear.
    I am not surprised you are posting this review. This book, this author, did something incredibly powerful. It still amazes me, a year or so after reading it.
    Hugs to you Rebecca.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. cindy knoke

    This is the most amazing book and he is simply wonderful. Leaving his thoughts after death for us to learn and live by, in such a profound, simple, and beautiful way. This is one of the best books I have ever read. Love to you Rebecca~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother

      I really enjoyed your Goodreads review, Cindy, especially your words, “He used his dying experience to write this book to help us live our lives more fully.” This book was eloquent as it was gracious, poignant as it was hopeful. Life-affirming, resilience! Paul was remarkable in detailing his emotional responses. In the midst of his pain, he found a way to give the greatest gift – a validation of life. May we be reminded of his words as we go about the days that are given to us.


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