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.

Recently, the life of one of the students at my high school was tragically taken away in a bike accident. He was only 15. Although our high school has over 3,500 students, and most probably did not know him, it was a beautiful thing to see how the whole school and community got together to honor his loss.  In our English class, our teacher decided to share this poem with us, talking about the importance of being together in times like this, and the fact that although our former schoolmate may have only been one person in this huge school, the loss of any single person can have a tremendous impact on society and mankind.

On Facebook, I saw a eulogy written about this former student by his English teacher. It talked about how he was always so cheerful, and would always do things that would make him happy. He “got life,” knowing to live not for certain results or to appease certain people, but to live to keep himself filled with joy, and thus bring joy to everyone around him. This immediately reminded me of something that my English teacher had discussed while talking about the above poem in class. Although it may seem cliche, life is short, and you need to live the best of it. Don’t leave the house upset or angry, because you never know which moment will be your last. I am glad to know that our former classmate did live his life in a happy manner, and that although his loss is tragic, he was still able to leave a huge impact on our school and community.

This also reminded in me the fact that when I leave for college next year, I will be leaving everything I know, leaving all the friends I’ve made, leaving my childhood. I had recently gotten into an argument with a friend over something, and there was a sort of grudge between us. Hearing about my former classmate’s death and thinking about how we would never be able to see each other everyday when we leave for college prompted me to just forgive my friend and stop our grudge. Life is too short to be wasted holding grudges or fighting or creating enemies. Even if I may not die tomorrow, I will be leaving for college, so might as well make the best out of my last memories with my high school friends before we part ways in a few months.

My English teacher was definitely right when he talked about the impact that a single person’s death can have, and how we need to honor it. Our former schoolmate’s death not only prompted a beautiful getting together of the community, but also reminded each and every one of us of the brevity of life and the importance of being happy. May our thoughts and prayers go out to this student and his family during this tragic time.

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