Everyday Matters

Image by Sean McCabe in AARP Image by Sean McCabe in AARP

Papers across the world this morning are announcing the death of 83-year-old surgeon Sherwin B. Nuland, perhaps most well-known for his National Book Award-winning “How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter.”

On a personal note, Sherwin Nuland was known affectionately as Shep by my family.  He and my father were young roommates – physicians-in-training in London in the late 1950s.

Last spring, my father and I had the chance to see Shep in New Haven, CT, where he was still very active at the Yale School of Medicine.   He was everything that all of the obituaries say about him today – thoughtful, intellectual, capable, dignified, humble, a mensch.  Time passed quickly, and a few days later, we exchanged messages by email.

Having learned of my “Year to Live” project, he wrote that, in thinking about mortality, “I seem always to get…

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