When Oliver Sacks died on Aug. 30 of last year, at 82, the world lost a beloved author and neurologist. I lost my partner.
Oliver hated that term: partner. “A partner is what one has in business,” he would say, bristling, “not in bed, not in the kitchen next to you making dinner.” The man was nothing if not meticulous about words. We’d never married — never wanted to — so “husband” was out, and “companion” was too euphemistic. Oliver was old-fashioned: He preferred the word “lovers.” We loved each other; that said it.
Thinking back on my life with Oliver, two episodes from his last year come to mind, each revealing something of the private and public Dr. Sacks. The first took place at home in late November 2014, two months before he learned of his terminal cancer diagnosis. Read the rest of this post »