The other day, I wrote about the fleeting nature of our life on earth; how we gather so much learning in our lifetime and then it departs with us.
Oliver Sacks, a neurologist and NYU Professor, alludes to this in his reflections after learning, at 80 years of age, that he will die of cancer:
I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.
The holes left behind and our own unique paths, that is what stuck in my head that day after the post office encounter. Dr. Sacks nailed it.
The full article is here:
Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer – NYTimes.com.