Erik Larson

Jan 12, 2009

Sunday morning, 24 January 1965

I finished yesterday Roy Jenkins’ biography of Winston Churchill, all 912 pages. I was planning on writing some summary thoughts but have completely run out of steam today. Most of the day, I’ve been (somewhat uncharacteristically) depressed. The transience of life, existential angst, that kind of thing.

I can offer at least this, for now: I was research assistant and (increasingly) caretaker for George Kozmetsky before his death in April 2003. I was with George the day before he died, when his face turned grey from his sickness and my eyes grew big like saucers, thinking he was dying (he was, it turns out). His eyes grew big too, looking at me. What a thing death is. The only other time my eyes grew big like this, looking at another person, was when my daughter Brooke was born. The nurses originally suggested that I perform the medical procedure of cutting the cord. It was too much, seeing her born like that. I wasn’t ready. In either case I wasn’t ready.