Was it a trick of birth that I'm not one of them? Was I unlucky in the cards destiny dealt? Perhaps there is a God or Gods in some celestial plane or atop a mountain or at the end of a rainbow bridge charting out my future. Perhaps its Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos spinning, dispensing and cutting the thread of my fate. Determining my allotment of suffering and success with a fairly impartial regard. What if I am but ones and zeros embedded in a fiction of some superior intelligence's design? My existence could be the result of any or none of these. Perhaps there really is nothing and all is chaos.
There is a reason books that recount the regrets and advice of the dying strike so deep a chord: people who have nothing left to lose can tell their stories with a sincerity and unpretentiousness we crave but that is all too rare. In “Trauma, Shame, and the Power of Love,” Christopher Pelloski relates his own downfall from a prominent physician-scientist in the field of radiation oncology in a similarly candid way.
Pelloski, in my mind, is a great champion for this cause. His knowledge of medicine and his first hand experiences combine to shine a beacon of light on this neglected problem society has swiftly condemned without any real thought on the deeper problems. All issues in society are layered. It's important to remember this if we want change. Nothing is ever simple.
Knowing what is to come, I found reading the pre-war Holland section difficult. Since this is the true story of a very real man's life, the usual detachment I have as a reader was stripped and I cringed at the tales of Hank's boyhood adventures. If only his life could have continued to be full of pranks and mooning over airplanes.