The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the ButterflyThis tragic memoir is not for the faint of heart. Journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby tells a poignant story of his life before and after a massive stroke. I could not believe how it was written! Blinking 200,000 times over 10 months while the transcriber repeatedly recited the French alphabet. Can you imagine?

“The memory of that event has only just come back to me, now doubly painful: regret for a vanished past and, above all, remorse for lost opportunities. Mithra-Grandchamp is the women we were unable to love, the chances we failed to seize, the moments of happiness we allowed to drift away. Today it seems to me that my whole life was nothing but a string of those small near misses: a race whose result we know beforehand but in which we fail to bet on the winner.”

This sounds like a common regret of people on their deathbeds. Nothing haunts you like the things you could’ve said or done. While I’m all for seizing the moment, this quote reminds of what Morrie from Tuesdays with Morrie said: forgive yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for chances you’ve missed or things you could’ve been. At the end of the day, make peace with others and forgive yourself too.

“Today is Father’s Day. Until my stroke, we had felt no need to fit this made-up holiday into our emotional calendar. But today we spend the whole of the symbolic day together, affirming that even a rough sketch, a shadow, a tiny fragment of a dad is still a dad.”

I love this quote. I used to tell people that I’m not a fan of all the made-up holidays, that it just a commercial tool. Sounds a bit cynical, doesn’t it? Now I see these them as reminders of the important people and things we have in our lives. Let it be Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or National Chocolate Day. No need to complain; rise and celebrate woohoo! Continue reading

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