As I edit Ships of My Fathers, I’ve been thinking back to my father’s death. Specifically, I remember that towards the end, when it was clear that the second round of chemo was not going to work, he was reading a book on cosmology and faith. As a lifelong scientist and Christian, he was looking for some kind of reconciliation between two oft-conflicting viewpoints. I don’t know if he found what he was looking for, but I do remember thinking about mortality and limited time and that someday, I will be reading the last book I will ever read.
It might very well be something of a religious nature. I don’t expect that, since I don’t feel I have a lot of open questions in my theological view of the universe, but you never know what you’re going to do when you’re staring death in the eye.
But I like to think, instead, I’ll be reading fiction. Maybe I’ll reread some old favorite tale. Maybe I’ll be tearing my way through some new series that a friend recommended. I have always loved to escape into stories, and I think they will be a great comfort to me in my final days.
If I know the end is coming soon, I don’t think I’ll put the book down when I’m done and declare, “That was the last book.” More likely, I’ll pick up the sequel, because I want to know what happens next.
And isn’t that perhaps the best way to go? With the hunger for story and a thirst for that great mystery of what comes on the next page?
What do you think your last book will be?