Music IN THIS WEEK’S SUPER SOUL SHORT FILM, THE POIGNANT REFLECTION ON LOVE, DEATH, DEVOTION, AND A LIFE LIVED WITH PURPOSE THAT CAPTURED THE HEARTS OF READERS AROUND THE WORLD. PAUL KALANITHI SPENT MOST OF HIS LIFE STRIVING TOWARD THE FUTURE. PASSIONATE ABOUT BOTH SCIENCE AND WRITING, HE MAJORED IN ENGLISH AND BIOLOGY AT STANFORD, AND WENT ON TO EARN A MASTERS DEGREE IN ENGLISH LITERATURE. HE THEN PURSUED A SECOND MASTERS IN PHILOSOPHY FROM CAMBRIDGE. Paul: If you asked me when I was 17 what I’d be doing with my life, I would have said, “I’ll definitely be a writer.” But I found after I completed my undergraduate studies, that medicine was in fact the perfect place for the kinds of things I was interested in, and passionate about. PAUL MET HIS WIFE LUCY DURING THEIR FIRST YEAR AT YALE MEDICAL SCHOOL. FOUR YEARS LATER, THEY MARRIED BEFORE MOVING WEST TO BEGIN THEIR RESIDENCIES AT STANFORD. BUT AT AGE 36, AS PAUL WAS CLOSE TO FINISHING NEARLY A DECADE OF TRAINING AS A NEUROSURGEON, HE RECEIVED A DEVASTATING DIAGNOSIS: STAGE FOUR LUNG CANCER. IN THAT SINGLE MOMENT, PAUL SAYS, EVERY DREAM HE HAD FOR HIS FUTURE DISAPPEARED… Paul: You’re always thinking about five years down the line, what you’re going to be doing. That number has no meaning for me anymore. I’d say I now spend most of my time thinking about the present and what I plan to do each day, each hour, each minute. Clocks, which used to sort of rule everything, are now kind of irrelevant to me. Having a terminal illness kind of forces you to think about your life and what matters to you. FORCED TO CONFRONT THEIR NEW REALITY, PAUL AND LUCY RE-ALIGNED THEIR RELATIONSHIP FOCUSING ON WHAT MATTERED MOST. LUCY: There were a couple of things that were important to him. One was to return to work as a neurosurgeon and then to start writing. Those were the two big professional dreams that he had. He had sort of a sentimental thing that he really wanted to do which was to go back to the destination that we went to on our honeymoon. It was that same kind of feeling of a celebration or a commitment; we still had those feelings even though he was dying. I think the thing that Paul taught me and showed me is this really simple idea that life is not about avoiding suffering. It’s about finding meaning. PART OF CREATING THAT MEANING WAS TO START A FAMILY… Paul: The decision to have children after I was diagnosed was probably the biggest decision that Lucy and I had to make. But the way we ended up thinking about it is that, even if you’re dying, until the day you actually die, you are living. For me, it was important to know that Lucy would have a family after I was gone LUCY: I asked him this question: Is it going to make the fact of dying even more painful for you? And he said this really amazing thing, he said “wouldn’t it be great if it did make it more painful.” PAUL AND LUCY WELCOMED THEIR DAUGHTER CADY ON JULY 4, 2014. Paul: Since Cady’s birth, my time with her has had a very peculiar and free nature. It all feels to me like bonus time, in the sense that in all probability I won’t live long enough for her to remember me. At the same time, for me every day is an exciting, rewarding, meaningful time to spend with her. LUCY: Looking into those eyes feels like a real connection to Paul. There was sort of this contrast between dying and growing or living and it was all happening at the same time. One of the big challenges and privileges of my life is to help her understand that narrative of where she came from and who her dad was. Then she and I are together going forward. PAUL KALANITHI DIED ON MARCH 9, 2015 AT THE AGE OF 37. HIS SPIRIT AND HIS WISDOM LIVE ON IN HIS NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING MEMOIR, “WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR.” LUCY: Paul as many of us are, was interested in the question what makes our life meaningful. PAUL: It’s a careful balance, if you don’t think about the bad case, that ending is going to be rough on you and your family. If you don’t think about the good case you’re going to miss an opportunity to really make the most out of your life and time.