A tribute to Charles Krauthammer

A tribute to Charles Krauthammer
Source: reusableart.com

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.




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  • I wasn't sure how to react to this one, but this George Will column offers some insight.

    Interesting was the observation that Krauthammer was a psychiatrist. It appears that someone who needs one did not tweet a sympathy note.

    He also came up in one of my criticisms of the mainsteam press not editing its letters to the editor. This must have been in the early 1990s and there was a letter to the editor in the St. Petersburg Times about that Krauthammer would be more sympathetic to the disabled if he were one. I said "don't they see on Angronsky and Company that he's in a wheelchair?" My mother's response was basically that she didn't think they got the show there.

  • Thank you for reading and responding, Jack. I have never seen the Agronsky program myself. I am so glad I own a copy of "Things That Matter," a joy far beyond its title. As another great doctor-turned-writer, Arthur Conan Doyle, once wrote, "peace be to his molecules."

  • Hello Margaret - I was not familiar with Charles Krauthammer prior to reading your tribute, here. I read "A Note to Readers," and was moved by his clear-eyed, dignified, and gracious message. Knowing that his writing over the years has been an important part of your life and writing practice makes me think about the value that people like Charles Krauthammer bring to our lives, and how it ripples outwards in innumerable ways.

  • In reply to folkloric:

    Hello, folkloric, and many thanks. I like the image you present of value rippling outwards. Thanks for the value that you bring here.

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