“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main…”
Upon hearing the news I knew immediately my world would never be the same. I had been through enough life changing experiences to know that the decision to make the change better or worse was up to me. Through weeks of denial I alienated myself from those that I loved and those that loved me. This was a very methodical alienation. I seized every opportunity to lose touch with friends and family, to push people away. I never counted on the tenacity our relationships had built within them. I’m glad for this, for had I know or even suspected how far they would go to reach out to me I would have countered their efforts. I would have chosen my words very carefully, aimed them at the most vulnerable spot to inflict maximum damage, kill the spirit so that they gave up on me. When you stop caring about hurting yourself the most difficult things become very easy to do. And when you decide that this was the best way to protect your friends from yourself, well then you’ll go to great lengths to achieve your objective. Self-sacrifice may be a noble thing but it is selfish and may be even evil when it is used for self-preservation. But they came through for me. All of them. In their own way. Some more subtly than others yet just as impactful. Of course there were those who maximised on the opportunity to drive the stake further in. And for what gain? Who knows, self-vindication perhaps. But these I do not count among friends. And if I ever did I no longer do. They taught me that no man is an island. That I am piece of them and they of me. It is a lesson I am still learning. My nature makes it difficult to accept though I must for I now know that my friends and family have my best interest at heart. They are involved in me and me in them. My death would diminish them as theirs would me. And so does my hurt and theirs. And so must my love and their love.
“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