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生命尽头读书会

2016-1-15 10:26| 发布者: admin| 查看: 1235| 评论: 0|原作者: YouAreAngel

摘要: 当至亲的生命进入了倒计时,你会选择什么样的方式道别? 有一对母子,选择了用书籍互相慰藉,给了彼此一个最美好的道别。 Will Schwalbe (威尔史沃比)是世界知名出版公司的高级副总裁和主编,也曾经是 ...


当至亲的生命进入了倒计时,你会选择什么样的方式道别?

有一对母子,选择了用书籍互相慰藉,给了彼此一个最美好的道别。



Will Schwalbe (威尔史沃比)是世界知名出版公司的高级副总裁和主编,也曾经是纽约时报的成功记者,曾出版过众多享有盛誉的图书。他2012年出版的 The End of Your Life Book Club 记录了他和母亲玛丽安之间真挚感人的生命尽头之旅。


作者Will Schwalbe

在一次人道主义救援任务后,从中东归来的玛丽安感染了一种非常罕见的肝炎。身体日渐虚弱。几经问诊后,确认这种肝炎是由重症胰腺癌引发的,并且癌症已经转移。


玛丽安的人生算是相当圆满。她有一个深爱她的,相伴半个世纪的丈夫,三个事业有成,家庭美满的儿女。她是一个受人尊敬的教育家和人道主义者,退休前曾在哈佛大学担任招生部主任多年,并参与筹建、运营多个非政府组织。即使是退休后,她依然活跃在任何需要她的地方,包括中东最不太平的伊拉克和阿富汗。


在非洲参加人道救援活动的玛丽安

癌症确诊时,威尔正在法兰克福参加图书展。在电话里得到消息的威尔惊惶失措,仿佛一时间又变成了无助的孩子。虽然兄妹三人早已成年,有自己的事业和家庭,但是母亲仍然是整个家庭亲情的纽带与核心。


威尔失魂落魄的回到纽约,不知如何面对母亲时日无多的事实,也不知道如何倾诉自己心里内心的彷徨与痛苦——死亡尚未横亘在母子间,但死亡这个禁忌话题却已经让彼此无法开口——你怎样告诉你的母亲你爱她,一句你从来无法说出的话,就因为你怕以后没有机会开口?


威尔和父母

但是,一向淡然安稳的母亲似乎并不怎么为自己的病情担心,她只问了儿子一句她在几十年间问过无数次的话:“你在读什么书?”(What are you reading?) 母子间的对话,从不以“你最近看了什么电影”或者“你最近做了什么”开头,而永远是“你在读什么书?”

因为,对于这个慈爱的母亲和伟大的慈善家来说,阅读是触摸灵魂的最好的方式。阅读使人沉静。阅读使人思考。阅读,对于走向生命尽头的她来说,是最好的告别人世的方式,也是她能留给儿子的最宝贵的财富。


Reading isn’t the opposite of doing;
it’s the opposite of dying.


在阅读中,我们汲取,我们反思,我们寻找对抗恐惧的勇气。阅读把我们从现实的苦痛中抽离,又在抽象中给了我们触摸伤痛的语言。


玛丽安与三个孩子,左一为威尔

通过书籍,威尔与母亲发明了一种默契的语言。母子组成了一个只有两个成员的读书俱乐部。他们共同阅读,交流探讨。当未来与死亡联系在一起,任何对未来的探讨都显得残酷。然而,在书籍的情境中,坚强的母亲用爱与智慧给了儿子最后的人生滋养。


在确诊至母亲去世的两年间,威尔每次陪伴母亲对抗癌症的化疗疗程就成了母子二人读书俱乐部的聚会时间。阅读给了他们从容道别的机会。


玛丽安走的平静安详。她知道,她已经没有什么好担心的了。在弥留之际,当儿子问她此生是否还有遗憾时,母亲说,她没能拥有一座苏格兰城堡。这时的母亲,又回到了当年那个幻想通话的翩然少女。


伟大的母亲和人道主义者,这笑容不知温暖了多少人

本书的中文译本由中国友谊出版社出版,译名为《生命最后的读书会》本文截取片段的中文翻译即来自于该译本(经宝姐姐适当删改)。



今天我们选取的片段,是威尔自述在法兰克福得知母亲确诊癌症时的感受。我们努力成长,就为面对生活中不期而至的恐惧时可以稍微坦然。但是,那个曾经为我们遮风挡雨的母亲终有一日将无法陪伴在我们身边,这是任何人也无法平静接收的事实。


一向成熟淡定的威尔迷失了。在异乡的狂欢人群中,他决定用酒精和电视屏幕闪烁的画面麻痹自己。一时间他忘记了母亲教给他的最朴实的人生道理——每当你恐惧不安时,你应该拿起一本书。阅读会给你需要的勇气。


While I was at the Frankfurt Book Fair a week later, just before heading off to co-host a table full of publishing pals for dinner, my mother called to tell me that she almost certainly had cancer. The hepatitis wasn’t viral; it was related to a tumor in her bile duct.

一周后,我在法兰克福图书展上。在我将要参加一场满是出版界人士的晚宴时,母亲打电话给我。她告诉我,医生几乎已经确诊她得的是癌症。肝炎的症状不是病毒性引发的,而是她的胆管长了肿瘤。


It would be good news if the cancer was only there, but it was far more likely that it had started in the pancreas and spread to the bile duct, which would not be good news at all.There were also spots on her liver. But I was not to worry, she said, and I was certainly not to cut my trip short and come home.

如果只有那里有癌细胞还算是个好消息,但是癌细胞很可能已经从胰腺扩散至胆管了。如果是这样可就有点不妙了。她的肝脏上也有些癌细胞。“别担心,没事的。”母亲说,“你不用提早回国来看我。”


I can’t remember much of what I said, or what she replied. But she soon changed the subject—she wanted to talk to me about my job. I’d recently told her that I’d become weary of my work, for all the same boring reasons privileged people get sick of their white-collar jobs: too many meetings, too much email, and too much paperwork.

我不记得自己说了些什么,母亲又回答了些什么。但她很快转移了话题,开始讨论我的工作。不久前我对她说我开始对自己的工作感觉疲惫,跟所有那些抱怨自己工作的白领一样,太多的会议要开、太多的电子邮件和文件要处理。


Mom told me to quit. “Just give two weeks’ notice, walk out the door, and figure out later what to do. If you’re lucky enough to be able to quit, then you should. Most people aren’tthat fortunate.” This wasn’t a new perspective that came from the cancer—it was vintage Mom.

母亲让我辞职:“提前两周通知公司就可以了。走出大门,然后再决定以后做些什么。如果你足够幸运、有资格辞职,就要把握住机会。大多数人没有那么幸运。”这并非由于得癌症而生的新想法,而是母亲一贯的观点。


As much as she was devoted to intricate planning in daily life, she understood the importance of occasionally following an impulse when it came to big decisions. (But she also recognized that not everyone was dealt the same cards. It’s much easier to follow your bliss when you have enough money to pay the rent.)

虽然她热衷于对日常生活精确到分钟的安排,但也理解偶尔服从冲动的重要性,只要那个冲动能够导向一个正确的决定。(但是她也深知不是人人处境相同。当你有钱了,对快乐的追求就变得容易多了。)


After we hung up, I didn’t know if I would be able to make it through the dinner. The restaurant was about a mile from my hotel. I walked to clear my head, but my head didn’t clear.

挂了电话之后,我不知道自己是否还能出席晚宴。餐厅距离我的酒店大约一英里,我想走路过去,试图让自己冷静下来,可是我却做不到。


I confided the news about Mom’s cancer to my co-host, a good friend, but to no one else. I had a feeling of dizziness, almost giddiness. Who was this person drinking beers and eating schnitzel and laughing?

与我一起主持晚宴的是我的一位好朋友。我只告诉了他一个人关于母亲得了癌症的事情。我感到头昏,几乎要晕过去。面前这个喝着啤酒、吃着炸肉排、不时大笑的人是谁?


I didn’t allow myself to think about Mom—what she was feeling; whether she was scared, sad, angry. I remember her telling me on that call that she was a fighter and that she was going to fight the cancer. And I remember telling her I knew that. I don’t think I told her I loved her then. I think I thought it would sound too dramatic—as though I were saying goodbye.

我命令自己不要多想母亲的事,不要想她是否感到害怕、悲伤或愤怒。我记得她刚才在电话里跟我说她是个战士,她会与癌症抗争到底。我记得我说我知道她会的。我想我应该没在电话里说我爱她,这句话听起来有点太煽情了,好像要永别了一样。


When I got back to my hotel after dinner, I looked around the room and then out the window. The river Main was barely visible under the city streetlights; it was a rainy night, so the roadway glistened in such a way that the lines between the river, the sidewalk, and the street were obscured.

晚宴结束后我回到酒店,环顾着房间,然后望向窗外。美因河几乎消失在城市的繁灯下。下着雨的夜晚,湿润的道路闪闪发亮,模糊了河流、人行道和车道的线条。


The hotel housekeeping staff had folded my big, fluffy white duvet into a neat rectangle. Beside my bed was a stack of books and some hotel magazines. But this was one of the nights when the printed word failed me.

酒店员工把我那蓬松洁白的羽绒被叠得整整齐齐的,床边是一叠书和酒店的杂志。但这个夜晚,我看不进去任何文字。


I was too drunk, too confused, too disoriented—by the hour of night, and also by the knowledge that my family’s life was changing now, forever—to read. So I did the hotel room thing. I turned on the TV and channel-surfed: from the glossy hotel channel to the bill channel (had my minibar item from the night before really cost that much?) to Eurosport and various German channels, before settling on CNN and the familiar faces and voices of Christiane Amanpour and Larry King.

我醉得厉害,迷茫充斥了我的内心,我失去了方向感。那一刻,我心知我的生活将会永远地改变,而且永远也无法复原。我看不进去书,于是就做了些在酒店里该做的事情。我打开电视,不停地调换频道:从浮夸的酒店频道换到账单频道,再换到欧洲体育频道和各种德文频道,最后停在CNN的克里斯汀·阿曼普以及拉里·金熟悉的面孔上。


When Mom and I later talked about that night, she was surprised at one part of my story: that I had watched TV instead of reading. Through out her life, whenever Mom was sad or confused or disoriented, she could never concentrate on television, she said, but always sought refuge in a book. Books focused her mind, calmed her, took her outside of herself; television jangled her nerves.

后来我和母亲谈及那个晚上的时候,最让她不可思议的部分是我竟然看了电视,而不是书。母亲这一辈子,只要感到悲伤、困惑和不知所措,她就没办法专心看电视,但总能在书中找到庇护之地。书能让她集中精力,使她平静,带领她走出来,面对现实,而电视只会扰乱她的神经。

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