“I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me.” –Charles Krauthammer
Sad news on Friday….
After the heartbreaking news from his doctors that he has only weeks to live, psychiatrist/author/news commentator/panelist Dr. Charles Krauthammer began his open letter of goodbye by explaining his absence in recent months, how he thought he was on the road to recovery, and the bitter news that he was losing his battle with cancer.
“I leave this life with no regrets,” he wrote. Read it all here.
Dr. Krauthammer’s story is not in his death, but rather in his life, a life where he took lemons and turned them into lemonade.
Now 68, he was paralyzed during his first year at Harvard Medical School in a diving board accident. After 14 months in the hospital, he returned to med school and earned his degree as a psychiatrist, graduating with his class. He once joked that he was a medical doctor, a psychiatrist in remission, and hadn’t had a relapse in 25 years.
On his road to Harvard he learned to dislike political extremism on the right and left, noting, “I became very acutely aware of the dangers, the hypocrisies, and sort of the extremism of the political extremes. And it cleansed me very early in my political evolution of any romanticism. … I detested the extreme Left and extreme Right, and found myself somewhere in the middle.”
He practiced that in life, leading psychiatric research during the Jimmy Carter administration and became a speech writer for Vice President Walter Mondale. At the time he became ill last summer, he had spent years as a panelist on Fox News with Bret Baier, and 23 years as a panelist for PBS’ Inside Washington.
In his letter, Dr. Krauthammer wrote, “I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.”
He wrote extensively, both in the medical field and then increasingly, in politics, publishing in Time, The New Republic, the Washington Post (where he won a Pulitzer Prize), Financial Times, The Weekly Standard, and many others. He won extensive awards and recognition for his work in all venues.
Krauthammer’s independent streak came out in his criticism of Donald Trump. He believes there is evidence the Trump presidential campaign colluded with the Russian government.
He was married and had a son. Friends talk about how he loved the Washington Nationals and was often at their games.
His life was remarkable. When tragedy struck, he seemed to dig down deep and excel at a time when many would give up. His voice, his intellect, his reasoning were calming amidst turbulent political times. That civility will be sorely missed.
“I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.” –Dr. Charles Krauthammer, June 8, 2018