It Tolls for Thee

At 78, illness and death seem to have become constant companions. On every semi-annual visit to Vancouver to visit with fellow teachers, I’m handed the obituary of at least two teachers who have died since my last visit. Though I personally have known only one person who has died from Covid-19, it is a constant reminder that Death is waiting around the next corner.

None of that made it any easier when I learned a year and half ago that Cory, my son-in-law, had a brain tumor.  He was originally given six months to live,  but he managed to live eighteen months before succumbing to the tumor this morning.

Despite majoring in English in college and spending a lot of time writing on this blog, I think words are virtually meaningless when it comes to something as profound as the death of a loved one.  That said, John Donne’s “No man is an island” definitely reminds me of Cory’s large family and numerous friends who are all feeling the loss of a vital part of their lives.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee.