Hitch’s Last Words

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 27 2012 @ 1:27pm

A slew of fragmented jottings – most of them pithy, some of them cryptic – that Hitchens left unfinished when he died are being published as the ultimate chapter of Mortality. David Plotz reproduces some here, along with his selective annotation. A few excerpts:

Now so many tributes that it also seems that rumors of my LIFE have also been greatly exaggerated. Lived to see most of what's going to be written about me: this too is exhilarating but hits diminishing returns when I realize how soon it, too, will be "background."


I'm not fighting or battling cancer—it's fighting me.


If I convert it's because it's better that a believer dies than that an atheist does.

In Mortality's afterword, Hitch's wife, Carol Blue, remembers her husband:

I miss his perfect voice.

I heard it day and night, night and day. I miss the first happy trills when he woke; the low octaves of “his morning voice” as he read me snippets from the newspaper that outraged or amused him; the delighted and irritated (mostly irritated) registers as I interrupted him while he read; the jazz-tone riffs of him “talking down the line” to a radio station from the kitchen phone as he cooked lunch; his chirping, high-note greeting when our daughter came home from school; and his last soothing, pianissimo chatterings on retiring late at night.

I miss, as his readers must, his writer’s voice, his voice on the page. I miss the unpublished Hitch: the countless notes he left for me in the entryway, on my pillow, the emails he would send while we sat in different rooms in our apartment or in our place in California and the emails he sent when he was on the road. And I miss his handwritten communiqués: his innumerable letters and postcards (we date back to the time of the epistle) and his faxes, the thrill of receiving Christopher’s instant dispatches as he checked-in from a dicey spot on some other continent.

I miss his jokes.