This is not my story. It's something I read today. The book is "The Alabama Student" by William Osler, a famed physician who lived from 1849 – 1919. The chapter is on John Keats, and it was a talk Osler delivered at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Octoberr 29, 1985. Keats died of T.B. in 1821 in Rome at age 25. He was attended by his friend, the artist John Severn. Osler writes: "Severn (Atlantic Monthly, April, 1863) has given a touching account of the last month of his friend's life. Realizing fully the hopelessness of his condition, like many a brave man in a similar plight, [Keats] wished to take his life. Severn states: 'In a little basket of medicine I had bought at Gravesend at his request there was a bottle of laudanum [tincture of opium], and this I afterwards found was destined by him "to close his mortal career", when no hope was left, and prevent a long lingering death, for my poor sake." Severn and Keats's doctor, Sir James Clark, did not comply with the poets entreaty and he died shortly thereafter. This is a touching anecdote that underscores how important "Engage with Grace" is.
-David Elpern, 11/27/2008