Death, Be Not Proud

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so.
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better than thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

–John Donne, 1618

They buried my friend today, just 51 years old.

Death is a hard experience to reconcile for those of us left in its wake. Logically, death is just another part of life, albeit the hardest part. When I believed in a god, I would rail against the injustice of death, the untimeliness of a life’s ending, the unfairness of someone’s passing. Eventually, I learned there is no answer to the question “Why?” and it was best just to revel in the splendor of the relationship despite its abrupt ending. To pay tribute to a life lived, a life shared, a life gone.

If we could choose our manner of death, who wouldn’t choose peacefully separating in sleep, unencumbered by guilt, sorrow or regret, no disease, no pain, no awareness, having loved and been loved. He died just this way, and I take comfort because he called me Friend.

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