It is with a very heavy heart and great sadness that I have to tell you that we lost dear, Uncle Bob on Friday, July 29th, 2016. He lived one of the most remarkable lives I could imagine; travelling the world researching Death and Dying, ceremonial ritual and custom. He founded the Centre of Death Education and taught the very first course in Death and Dying bringing it out of the shadows and into mainstream conversation in the 60s. He was the most loving and generous man I have known and he worked tirelessly to help me complete my English Language degree with a strong emphasis on Religious study. I am beyond grateful for the years we spent together and the regular phone calls that left my cheeks hurting from laughing. No subject was off topic or too risqué for Bob because everything led back to custom and academics. He was my mentor, my friend and my Uncle Dad. I am without one of my most stable anchors and my life will forever reflect and remember his teachings, love and insight. You lived a long fulfilling life, Bob and 89 is a mighty age. I will always write for you. Xo
This is a poem that Uncle Bob and I studied together in 2000 and I received one of my best grades on the essay he helped me through. While there were a list of classical British poems to choose from Bob and I settled on this one and I learned much of his thoughts on Death and Dying through it.
Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud
BY JOHN DONNE
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art 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.