Einstein likewise had repeatedly bounced back from bouts of anemia and stomach ailments. But he knew that the aneurysm on his abdominal aorta should soon prove fatal, and he began to display a peaceful sense of his own mortality. When he stood at the graveside and eulogized the physicist Rudolf Ladenberg, who had been his colleague in Berlin and then Princeton, the words seemed to be ones he felt personally. "Brief is this existence, as a fleeting visit in a strange house," he said. "The path to be pursued is poorly lit by a flickering consciousness."
He seemed to sense that this final transition he was going through was at once natural and somewhat spiritual. "The strange thing about growing old is that the intimate identification with the here and now is slowly lost," he wrote his friend the queen mother of Belgium. "One feels transposed into infinity, more or less alone."