Death: The 'Gift' of Men

One of the world's most beloved authors, J.R.R. Tolkien, died on this day in 1973. He and his wife Edith Tolkien are buried in a single grave in the Catholic section of a small cemetery in Oxford. The inscription on their headstone includes the names of two of Tolkien's most beloved characters: Beren, a mortal man, and Luthien, an immortal elf who chooses mortality for her love of Beren. Death, which Tolkien described both as the "doom of men" and the "gift of men," is arguably the most important theme in his writings.
I had the privilege of visiting Tolkien's gravesite several years ago during Oxonmoot, an annual event organized by the Tolkien Society. It is a spiritually powerful place, full of memory and imagination.