Poem on the Deathbed: Tribute to a Gritty Colleague

June 26, 2017

Who in the world is not afraid of death? The very thought itself is enough to send shudder through our spine. Even if you know that you have lived enough and more on this earth, you do not want to die. You pray to God to give you good health and long life. That is the human tendency. Mythological stories apart, no one so far has won over death. Some people die young and some old. Some die of ailment and some end their life. But the ultimate truth is that we do not want to die.

John Donne (1572-1631), a poet belonging to Metaphysical School, through one of his Sonnets “Death, Be Not Proud” challenges the very pride of death. Donne suffered a major illness that made him come closer to death. Then he orders “Death, Be Not Proud”. Though people have called it “Mighty and dreadful”(Line 2), it is actually a “slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men”(Line 9).

Just a few days back one of our colleagues Avis Jyothsna, from the department of English, Milagres PU College, succumbed to cancer. Her courage and boldness to face death was so commendable that it reminded me of John Donne. Greater reason to remember John Donne’s “Death, Be Not Proud” is the poem she wrote on her death bed just a couple of days before her death.

She was 49 when she died. Couple of months back she was like any of us. She fell sick and she realized that she was going to die. There flowed from the person on the death bed an unparallel poetry. She welcomed death as one would welcome the most loving one. She was not dejected nor depressed over death. For her death was “Crossing the Bar”, a mere transition. She gathers so much of courage to console her friends. She assures the living that death is not cruel. It is a vehicle to transport you to eternal bliss. So she asks her dear and near ones;

So, when tomorrow starts without me,
Don’t think we are far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I’m right in your heart.

Very few or none can display this type of courage on the deathbed. I think God was very kind to her and gave her enough strength to embrace pain and death. Here is her poem.

If Tomorrow Starts Without Me

If tomorrow starts without me,
And I’m not here to see,
If the Sun should rise
You find your eyes
Filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
The way you did today,
While thinking of the many things
We didn’t get to say.

I know how much you love me,
As much I love you,
And each time that you think of me
I know you will miss me too.

But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand
An angel came and called my name,
Took me by the hand and said;
“This is eternity and all I have promised you,
You have been forgiven and now at last you’re free”.

So, when tomorrow starts without me,
Don’t think we are far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I’m right in your heart.

Good bye to you dear colleague Avis Jyothsna.


By Dr Vincent Alva
To submit your article / poem / short story to Daijiworld, please email it to news@daijiworld.com mentioning 'Article/poem submission for daijiworld' in the subject line. Please note the following:

  • The article / poem / short story should be original and previously unpublished in other websites except in the personal blog of the author. We will cross-check the originality of the article, and if found to be copied from another source in whole or in parts without appropriate acknowledgment, the submission will be rejected.
  • The author of the poem / article / short story should include a brief self-introduction limited to 500 characters and his/her recent picture (optional). Pictures relevant to the article may also be sent (optional), provided they are not bound by copyright. Travelogues should be sent along with relevant pictures not sourced from the Internet. Travelogues without relevant pictures will be rejected.
  • In case of a short story / article, the write-up should be at least one-and-a-half pages in word document in Times New Roman font 12 (or, about 700-800 words). Contributors are requested to keep their write-ups limited to a maximum of four pages. Longer write-ups may be sent in parts to publish in installments. Each installment should be sent within a week of the previous installment. A single poem sent for publication should be at least 3/4th of a page in length. Multiple short poems may be submitted for single publication.
  • All submissions should be in Microsoft Word format or text file. Pictures should not be larger than 1000 pixels in width, and of good resolution. Pictures should be attached separately in the mail and may be numbered if the author wants them to be placed in order.
  • Submission of the article / poem / short story does not automatically entail that it would be published. Daijiworld editors will examine each submission and decide on its acceptance/rejection purely based on merit.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to edit the submission if necessary for grammar and spelling, without compromising on the author's tone and message.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to reject submissions without prior notice. Mails/calls on the status of the submission will not be entertained. Contributors are requested to be patient.
  • The article / poem / short story should not be targeted directly or indirectly at any individual/group/community. Daijiworld will not assume responsibility for factual errors in the submission.
  • Once accepted, the article / poem / short story will be published as and when we have space. Publication may take up to four weeks from the date of submission of the write-up, depending on the number of submissions we receive. No author will be published twice in succession or twice within a fortnight.
  • Time-bound articles (example, on Mother's Day) should be sent at least a week in advance. Please specify the occasion as well as the date on which you would like it published while sending the write-up.

Comment on this article

  • Prajna Shetty, Udupi

    Thu, Jun 29 2017

    Heart touching poem... A great tribute to a great teacher... Wonderful article SIR.

  • Prajna Shetty, Udupi

    Thu, Jun 29 2017

    Heart touching poem.... A great tribute to a great teacher..... Wonderful article SIR.


    Tue, Jun 27 2017

    She was my classmate and my daughters lecturer and my daughter was one of her favorite student. i did visit her in her last days she was calm though she new she had to go. God take her in your paradise. May her soul rest in peace.

    we have lost a good teacher. miss you AVIS

  • Avitha Fernandes, Udupi

    Tue, Jun 27 2017

    Touched.. Sometimes life teaches me that I have not known people enough. Avis mam you shocked me by your sudden dismiss. Yet your poem will keep you alive and going. We love you even more than before...

  • Ivan Saldanha., Mangalore Rosario.

    Tue, Jun 27 2017

    Truly touches the heart deeply, really. Great lives great words. May it be so for all of use too. Heart felt tribute in short. Thanks.Regards -ivan.

  • Albert Sequiera, Bondel, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 27 2017

    RIP Jyothsna, Heart touching tribute poem written by Dr.Vincent Allva. Our prayers to Jyothsna.
    Albert-Celestine & fly.,

  • Gretta,CBE, Bajjodi

    Mon, Jun 26 2017

    Wonderful message to all us to face our death. Really heart touching. Rest in peace madam Jyotsna. Thank you sir for this article. Great tribute to an Eng.Lecturer by an Eng.professor.

  • Mary Mammen, Udupi

    Mon, Jun 26 2017

    Thank you Prof Vincent Alva for your loving tribute to our dear colleague . I have known Avis as a person who was soft -spoken , calm and composed . She was aware of her impending death .When I went to the hospital to see her , she was nonchalant . I was amazed at her attitude . She must have derived all her strength from God .
    Her poem moved me to tears .
    Our hearts stil ache with sadness .
    We will treasure the memories of our days in the English department
    Let us think of doing something in the college to keep her memory alive .


    Mon, Jun 26 2017

    Such a beautiful words for your colleague ,may she rest in peace. Stay blessed Dr. Alva.

  • Edward Menezes, Bantakal

    Mon, Jun 26 2017

    Beautiful Poem,heart touching,A great tribute to Gritty Colleague.Thank you Dr.Vincent Alva.

  • Cyril Mathias, udpi

    Mon, Jun 26 2017

    Too good to read the poem.

  • Stany D'Souza, Mumbai / Bondel

    Mon, Jun 26 2017

    Touching tribute Dr Alva. May Joytsna's soul rest in peace.

  • Eddie Sequeira, Bendore, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 26 2017

    May God rest her courageous soul in peace.

  • Max and Jessie Rasquinha, Mangalore, Houston/Dallas, texas

    Mon, Jun 26 2017

    What a precious message, Dr. Vincent Alva, as a fond tribute to late Avis Jyostna who passed away recently. These words need be engraved on a marble slab so that not only ourselves but many more thousands can read them and digest them and appreciate what's life is all about.

    We are all so much engrossed with our daily trials and tribulations of life we often forget that all of us have a deadline to accomplish, and within that deadline we have so much more to accomplish in life. We have to leave behind all the legacy that we have carved for ourselves and our families, and one day bid farewell to this "small world, a beautiful world", that we attached so much of love and importance.

    We shall certainly read your poem at a leasurely moment and shall digest the depth and the meaning and shall reply to you more appropriately when time is ripe. Many thanks for your contribution and God bless.

  • Leslie, udupi

    Mon, Jun 26 2017

    Life here and life after may not be the same...
    Pain and suffering I suppose will be the same...
    Jyothsna, we all suffer the same way...
    Thou you suffered a lot more...
    At times emotional pains are far more unmanageable...
    Life has been tough on you sister...
    Be happy beside the Lord...
    Let the journey continue...

  • Santan Mascarenhas, Kinnigoli/Mumbai

    Mon, Jun 26 2017

    Her courage and boldness at nearing death is commendable. Very heart touching poem. RIP Jyothsna.
    Everyone wants to go to heaven, but, no one wants to die.
    Illi iddadella summane
    Alli ide namma mane

  • Andrew L D Cunha, mangalore

    Mon, Jun 26 2017

    Touching....Thank you Dr. Vincent Alva for this beautiful article.

Leave a Comment

Title: Poem on the Deathbed: Tribute to a Gritty Colleague

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. Daijiworld.com will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will Daijiworld.com be held responsible.