Charles Krauthammer, whose work was syndicated by the Washington Post and carried in the Chicago Tribune, wrote a book called "Things that Matter" (New York, 2013; Crown Forum Publishers).
He also wrote things that matter. On Sunday, June 10, the Tribune carried a "A note to readers," with his column's usual byline and portrait. I have admired his writing style and learned from his analysis for years, but perhaps I learned the most from this note.
It is, in effect, his own obituary.
For years, I have enjoyed his writing. It has provoked many great conversations, added analyses to my diary, and -- I hope -- been a strong influence on my own writing. He used words with great precision, with admirable impact.
I hated having to read this piece, but yet I admired it. To be fatally ill, to admit it and face it, and to be able to write about it this clearly is a great gift.
He wrote: "My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.
I wish to thank my doctors and caregivers, whose efforts have been magnificent."
That's a direct quote. He goes straight from saying that his fight is over to thanking the doctors and others who could not help him win it.
If my destiny brings me the same "verdict," I hope I will have Charles Krauthammer's strength and remember his thanks.
Dr. Krauthammer, if you're able to read this, thank you for everything.
Filed under: Writing