Christopher Hitchens, the literary critic, essayist, biographer, and man of letters was an uncommon person who died in 2011 from an increasingly common disease, cancer. Mortality is a testament to his life and his battle with cancer. I know from personal experience that cancer is not for sissies, that the learning curve is steep, that the path is fraught with anxiety and fear. No matter what the outcome, cancer is fought by brave people who know immediately that they are mortal.
During his life, this avowed atheist wrote eloquently regarding his beliefs on the Almighty and those who do believe. I wondered how such a person would face the end of life without the solace of faith. Now I know. Mr. Hitchens faced his illness as he faced his life: curious, angry, intelligently and as an active, vital participant. You may not believe as he believed, but his voice is one that should be heard and read by anyone who will be affected by illness, and sadly, that is all of us.