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June 21, 2024
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'As Good as It Gets'

Physician Brescia writes a memoir that reflects on his personal life, his work as an oncologist, and his experiences as a soldier. We spoke with the author about how those things came together in his book and what his goals are for the work.   

Why did you decide to write your memoir?

I am not sure how to answer this question. I have thought about how my life experiences, my family, and my history are connected to and interwoven with the themes of my work as an oncologist. The loss of my wife in 2013 widened the aperture through which I view my life—my life in the wake of loss and the loss we all have to meet at some point. 

The subtitle of your book is The Evolving Thoughts of a Deathwatcher. Who do you consider to be a “deathwatcher” in our society?

We are all “deathwatchers.” We cannot escape being a witness to the loss of those we love the most. All of us must face grief and anxiety about the truth that we someday will cease to be. Yet, we live our lives, and we hope.

You’ve said that your military service influenced your views on death. Can you elaborate on that statement?

As a physician, I had seen death caused by illness, bad behavior, and the simple decay of aging. In war, the etiology of death was violence and the madness of it all, and it came suddenly in young, healthy men. We seem to become numb to its reality and try hard to find meaning. We make it noble.

If you could pick anyone to give this book to, who would it be and why?

I think we all face grief, guilt, anxiety, and loss. For those who have recently been touched by death through the loss of someone loved, this may offer some language of comfort and understanding. Young physicians may also benefit.

How do you imagine readers at this moment will connect to As Good as It Gets?

It is hard to know how readers will connect with my book. Maybe its themes and mood are too much of that which we wish not to face or think about. Grief and loss reshape us without our consent; we are made malleable by the experience of suffering. Our nature is to avoid what we don’t like to think about until such things are impressed upon us.