Famous atheist Christopher Hitchens continues to communicate about his experience with cancer and immanent death in an article at Vanity Fair.
Hitchens writes so very well.
And, I would venture, he is using his skill to express that which others in his circumstance feel, but lack the capacity to articulate.
One of my colleagues was expressing bemusement yesterday that so many older, infirm and dying people with whom they have contact have no heightened interest in issues of what may be beyond this life.
Christopher Hitchens is their spokesman.
I am typing this having just had an injection to try to reduce the pain in my arms, hands, and fingers. The chief side effect of this pain is numbness in the extremities, filling me with the not irrational fear that I shall lose the ability to write. Without that ability, I feel sure in advance, my “will to live” would be hugely attenuated. I often grandly say that writing is not just my living and my livelihood but my very life, and it’s true. Almost like the threatened loss of my voice, which is currently being alleviated by some temporary injections into my vocal folds, I feel my personality and identity dissolving as I contemplate dead hands and the loss of the transmission belts that connect me to writing and thinking.
These are progressive weaknesses that in a more “normal” life might have taken decades to catch up with me. But, as with the normal life, one finds that every passing day represents more and more relentlessly subtracted from less and less. In other words, the process both etiolates you and moves you nearer toward death. How could it be otherwise?