‘No Man Is An Island’

Referring to my Lab’s name Bali, I used to quote John Donne (see below) and joke that while “no man is an island,” a dog can be. My work in the international field took me to the paradise isle of Bali, Indonesia on numerous occasions, and it became a favorite vacation spot and the place of many sweet memories. So when I brought home my six-weeks-old puppy a decade ago, her name had already been chosen years prior.

After naming her for an island, I soon learned she would become anything but. For ten years Bali and I were in essence inseparable, and today I lost a piece of me. A furry “clod” of the best kind has left my world…and tonight my heart feels shattered.

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.

John Donne

a meticulously beautiful life

some lower flags to mark a death. here instead is a lower case tribute. perchance, writing will raise my spirit because i’ve been sad all day long.

shaken hard sums me up today since some random web-browsing last night led me to stumble upon the stunning news of a friend’s death…six months ago.

i’ve forever been blessed by an expansive circle of friends of every order. dearest ones i’ve never known life without. a good many found at school and in college. numerous others defining and enriching every chapter of my life.

with a few, the bond remains seamless and the chit-chatting endless. then there are some to dial up or meet up with once a year or so. others go faraway though forever stay near to heart. denyse was the latter and among the rarest of friends. after an instant spark and then years and years apart, she was an unforgettable force who left a profound mark.

denyse created amazing art and showed me how to live fully and fiercely. the meticulous beauty of her life, as she appeared to will each and every one of her dreams into being, makes the loss bittersweet. her passing has left behind a highly regarded body of artistic works; the love of her life with a broken heart; a precious two-year-old whom she adored; grieving family, students, colleagues and admirers; and an unquestionable and permanent imprint on me.

this article and short film tell some of her story: http://www.gwarlingo.com/2012/samein-priester-on-fatherhood-film-loss-of-his-wife-artist-denyse-thomasos/

— vf