Tuesday, June 24, 2014

No Man Is An Island: Condolence Poems, Part 3

My previous posts on condolence poetry explored poems that inspire, such as The Dash, and poems that express a personal perspective on death, such as All Is Well.

One reader urged me to share the poem, No Man Is An Island

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. 

  • encouraged you to set your goals high
  • guided you
  • trusted and confided in you 
  • made you feel hopeful
  • gave your life purpose as their caregiver, or even
  • made you feel miserable

You may also feel diminished at the death of a person who influenced someone you love. Examples would be:  your spouse's best friend, your child's coach, your sibling's spouse.  

When these dynamics are present, enrich your condolence note with honest sharing about the impact the person had on your life. And it is okay to share your pain (the way you feel diminished). 
  • "Without [name]'s encouragement, I'm not sure I would have stayed in college..."
  • "Although it was my job to get [name] out of bed and ready for the day, the truth is that showing up at her house got me out of my own bed..."
  •  "My son was never enthusiastic about doing chores, but after the Coach talked about responsibility, he asked me how he could help. Now, it's a struggle..."
  • "Sis, I was there for you before you married [name], and though you're really hurting now, remember: I'm still here..."
Is there someone waiting for you to share this post?  Thanks for caring!

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