Friday, August 06, 2010

Christopher Hitchens talks about his cancer

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Reading his great piece on himself and his latest, greatest obstacle is good enough, but watching this heavy video where he and CNN’s Anderson Cooper discuss cancer, lost loved ones and the various reactions from other folks brings a new level of gravitas to the situation.

Here’s Hitchens describing the moment when he first realized something was wrong:

HITCHENS: It was in the middle of my tour for my memoir, my Hitch-22. And I was feeling a bit ropey but I wrote it down to overwork, and I rather enjoy the feeling of burning the candle at both ends and living the 36-hour day. But, it abruptly was borne in on me that that was an illusion. There was a morning when I couldn’t get out of bed. I was – something was obviously wrong with my heart and my lungs. This is in New York.

COOPER: You felt it as soon as you woke up?

HITCHENS: Oh, yeah. I couldn’t move, really. And I thought, “this is not –” There was an expression about, “I woke up feeling like death”? I’ve had that. [light chuckling] But this was not like that. This was like that. And I thought, “Maybe I’m dying”.

Be sure to watch the full thing. People often ask how atheists deal with death and the concept of mortality if they don’t believe in God and the afterlife. Hitchens shows how it’s done: By relying on the people in your life, not on some false promise of “going to a better place”.

(via @ebertchicago)