When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Paul on Love & Loss

I knew a child would bring joy to the whole family, and I couldn't bear to picture Lucy husbandless and childless after I died, but I was adamant that the decision ultimately be hers: she would likely have to raise the child on her own, after all, and to care for both of us as my illness progressed.

"Will having a newborn distract from the time we have together?" she asked.
"Don't you think saying goodbye to your child will make your death more painful?"
"Wouldn't it be great if it did?" I said.
Lucy and I both felt that life wasn't about avoiding suffering.

Lucy Kalanithi on Her Last Day with Her Husband

I thought of other beds we'd shared. Eight years prior, as medical students, we'd slept similarly ensconced in a twin bed next to my grandfather as he lay dying at home, having cut our honeymoon short to help with caregiving duties. We awakened every few hours to give him medications, my love for Paul deepening as I watched him lean in and listen closely to my grandfather's whispered requests. We'd never have imagined this scene, Paul's own deathbed, so near in our future. Twenty-two months ago, we'd cried in a bed on another floor of this same hospital as we learned of Paul's cancer diagnosis. Eight months ago, we'd been together here in my hospital bed the day after Cady was born, both napping, the first good, long sleep I'd had since her birth, wrapped in each other's arms. I thought of our cozy bed empty at home, remembered falling in love in New Haven twelve years earlier, surprised right away by how well our bodies and limbs fit together, and thought of how ever since, we'd both slept best when entwined. I hoped with all I had that he felt that same restful comfort now.

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington

On Letting Go

"You never told me that before," I said.
"What?" he asked.
"That Leigh was the love of your life."
"Christ," Paul said, exasperated. "Do I have to say it?"
We sat alone in the darkness. Behind us, the police cruiser was at the far edge of the parking lot, presumably trying to look inconspicuous.
"If Leigh is the love of your life, Paul," I asked quietly, "why'd you let her go off on her own? Why didn't you come after her?"
"I've been asking myself that question for a long time," he said. "But you know what, Rocky? You can't change the past. You just have to find a way to live with it."

On Young Love

I can't say it didn't hurt to see her go, but I think I understood even then how young love is a little like a high school play. A thing that seems insignificant to everyone else takes on the greatest importance. And then, quite suddenly, it's over. You feel a certain emptiness, but you survive it and go on.

On Love

That's the risk we take when we love. This was my gift from Paul'”his legacy, you might say. Only love can break your heart. And who wants to live without love?


The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

Love - According to Music

Here is what I know of love. It changes the way you treat me. I feel it in your hands. Your fingers. Your compositions. The sudden rush of peppy phrases, major sevenths, melody lines that resolve neatly and sweetly, like a valentine tucked in an envelope. Humans grow dizzy from love, particularly new love, and young Frankie was already dizzy when he and the mysterious girl descended from that tree.

On Love Stories

Frankie fell in love with Aurora as a child and he would never love anyone that way again. It was that simple. He thought about her, he pursued her, and every time he lost her, he pursued her again. From that first day in the Spanish woods to that fateful night at Woodstock, searching for her amongst thousands of spectators, theirs was what you humans label a true love story. But all love stories are symphonies.
And, like symphonies, they have four movements:
-Allegro, a quick and spirited opening.
-Adagio, a slow turn.
-Minuet/Scherzo short steps in 3/4 time.
-Rondo, a repeating theme, interrupted by various passages.