A former campaign manager for President George Bush and chairman of the Republican National Committee, Lee Atwater had accomplished the two things he had wanted to do by the time he was forty. Then he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.
Shortly before he died, he wrote: “I acquired more than most. But you can acquire all you want, and still feel empty. What power wouldn’t I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn’t I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth the country can lean on my dime.”
“I lie here in my bedroom, my face swollen from steroids, my body useless. The doctors still won’t answer that nagging question: how long do I have? Some nights I can’t go to sleep, so fearful am I that I will never wake up again.”
“I’ve come a long way since the day I told George Bush that his ‘kinder, gentler’ theme was a nice thought, but it wouldn’t win us any votes. I used to say that the President might be kinder and gentler, but I wasn’t going to be. How wrong I was. There is nothing more important in life than the human touch.”