Many of you may have read or heard about the recent death of Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and noted political journalist. According to USA Today, he was considered one of the nation’s most influential conservative commentators –– an outstanding wit and exceptional writer. A well-respected man.
Last week, Krauthammer died of cancer, he was 68-years-old.
But, what intrigued me about his death was knowing how he lived his life.
Krauthammer is noted as a person who was passionate and tenacious at best. As a Harvard medical student, Krauthammer, 22-years-old, hit his head on the bottom of a swimming pool after diving into the water, the impact severed his spinal cord leaving him a quadriplegic. But, the accident did not stop him, as he continued his studies at Harvard, graduating in 1975.
Upon graduation, he started a career in psychiatry and is noted for making many contributions to the field. As a researcher, he was a member of President Jimmy Carter’s administration, and later, he became a speech writer for Vice President Walter Mondale.
Once he began writing his career took off. Krauthammer wrote for various publications, including The New Republic and Time magazine. In 1985, he began his career with the Washington Post and in a short time, his columns were syndicated worldwide, in over 400 publications.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Krauthammer went on to serve as a commentator or panelist on news programs, including special segments, and he was a contributor on Fox News. Later, he became a regular on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”
Krauthammer was a conservative at heart, however, his colleagues will attest that he was willing to call out anyone in power, no matter what political party or who was leading from the White House.
In one of his essays, he explained his thoughts as to why he become involved in politics ––
“Politics, the crooked timber of our communal lives, dominates everything because, in the end, everything – high and low and, most especially, high – lives or dies by politics. You can have the most advanced and efflorescent of cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away. This is not ancient history. This is Germany 1933.”
According to family members and colleagues, Krauthammer lived life with an indomitable spirit, and that courage and determination started when he chose not to allow the diving accident to rob him of his goals and plans. He maintained a strong spirit, and being paralyzed never once got in his way or kept him from enjoying life’s adventures, and it definitely did not prevent him from attending sporting events, as he was an avid Washington Generals fan.
As a person, Krauthammer was defined by his values, convictions, and accomplishments, not by his circumstances, and that is how he lived.
Near the end, when he knew the cancer was prevailing, he wrote, “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.”
Krauthammer was married and leaves behind a wife and son, as well as many colleagues, who are all part of his legacy. They account for the many memorable stories detailing his passion for life, his indomitable spirit, and his incomparable conviction for living life to the fullest. Those memories will continue to live on in those who knew him.
And, for those of us who didn’t know him, perhaps the memorable stories of his unquenchable spirit, his determination and fiery passion, will serve as an inspiration.