Monday, November 29, 2010
Death, be not proud
No wonder I had such a crush on him.
This is my old friend, and briefly "boyfriend" Jon Laursen, as he was when I first knew him when we were about 17 or so. I remember Jon very fondly. It's odd, perhaps, that he was one of the very few people in my adult life (what passes for it) who met my grandparents and visited their home with me.
I had word yesterday that he died of cancer on Friday. A lot of people loved him over the course of his life, including me. It was a long, long time ago, half my lifetime, but I am not forgetful.
I know there are some people who stay put, more or less, in the place where they were born. They hang about, in general, with the same people all their lives. A lot of the people I went to school with still live in BC; most of them still live on the Island.
I left them all behind. Have, in fact, left a trail of people behind me that is now 6000 miles long. When I look back on my teens and childhood, it is almost like remembering a film or a book I read once. Like something that happened to someone else. In my mind, these old friends of mine will forever be 17, 22, 25...no matter what happens to me. No wonder I always have a strange feeling as though I am a replicant, grown in a vat and implanted with false memories.
I can say one thing for death, though, it makes you remember that you really exist.
But I have to say, I'm getting pretty sick of effing cancer. Nearly all the people who have died, whom I have loved in life, have been taken by cancer.
Joan Reid, my mother's gentle friend
my grandfather, Norman White
and now Jon.
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou'art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy'or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.