People deal with difficult times in very different ways. Oliver Sacks, the well known physician, best-selling author, and professor of neurology, died last year. He was once described by the New York Times as the, “Poet Laureate of Medicine”. Before he died, he described in his short book called Gratitude, how he dealt with loss in his life by turning to
“I have tended since early boyhood to deal with loss by turning to the non-human. When I was sent to Boarding school as a child at the age of six, at the outset the second world war, numbers became my friends. When I returned to London at the age of ten, the elements and the Periodic table became my companions. Times of stress throughout my life have led me to turn or return to the physical sciences a world where there is no life but also no death.
And now at this juncture, when death is no longer an abstract concept but a presence – an all-too-close , not-to- be-desired presence- I am again surrounding myself, as I did when I was a boy, with metals and minerals, little emblems of eternity”.