I learned a few days ago that one of my professors is seriously ill.  According to the email that was sent out, he is in a lot of pain and is “very close to death.”

I don’t really know what to say.  We were all aware of his medical condition, which everyone knew had a bad prognosis.  Still, it’s frightening to think of this man, who was always so upbeat, so intelligent, hooked up to machines and unable to communicate.  It’s really that last part, the inability to communicate, that shocks me the most.  This is a man who was almost never silent, would talktalktalktalk at hyperspeed, and in a non-native language.

Because I didn’t know what else to do, I read John Donne’s Holy Sonnet X. It’s metaphysical and references religious beliefs that I don’t subscribe to, but it’s comforting nonetheless.  Especially the defiance in the last line: Death, thou shalt die.


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