When I was ill back in July 2011, counting my blessings on a daily basis, even hourly, I found solace in one of Mr. Sacks's books, Musicophilia, a fascinating collection of case studies in which he describes, in a very passionate way, the wonders of the human mind in relation to music. I am saddened to learn that Mr. Sacks died six days ago when I was sitting behind my desk wasting precious time watching meaningless YouTube videos.
Sigh. I will miss you. I love the way you wrote. I love the characteristic eloquence of your writing. Reading about absolute pitch and musical imagery in the comforting shade of a palm tree feeling so awful I could barely lift a finger, I absorbed the sheer humanity of your work thinking this was probably my final vacation on the planet Earth. As it turns out, I'm still alive and you're not. How is that fair? Because you were old and I'm, well, 45? Because you lived a life that was full while mine is quite empty? I don't know. It doesn't seem fair to me. You had so much more to share. I can't believe you will never write another word again. Would you believe me if I told you that only 24 hours ago I looked up the word 'sleep paralysis' in Hallucinations (2012), the one book you wrote I'm ashamed to admit I haven't read yet, only to discover an entire chapter devoted to this terrifying experience I had in 1990 that I would rather forget about? It had been sitting in my bookcase for years, waiting for me to read it —"nightmares were radically different from ordinary dreams in their invariable sense of a fearful presence" (227) — and all this time I didn't even know. It figures.
So now what? Life goes on? Let's buy another Ted Baker suit? Am I so vain I'm having an incredibly hard time grasping and accepting the full thrust of what it means to be gone forever — that split second when one moment you're alive and then, poof, you're gone? Am I so vain to think that it's completely unacceptable that my life will one day, maybe today, end too?
All I can say is, Godspeed, Mr. Sacks. May there be a God for you, Sir, for I and everybody else on this planet who are still breathing and taking wonderful selfies, can guess and hope but never really know.
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