Saturday, September 03, 2011

In Remembrance

He was a programmer. Tall, soft-spoken, kept to himself. He frightened me a little. Especially when I had to pester him about looming deadlines.

And then I sat next to him for a year. We talked about our mutual California backgrounds, our kids, trips to Mexico, my cruise, his sailing and diving. We complained about work and made fun of co-workers. He went on a weight-loss plan with another co-worker. Every Friday they got out a scale and weighed themselves at his desk. He won most of the weeks' weigh-ins and he won overall. On our company river float I saw this guy on his paddle board. Tall, toned, muscular arms. Tan. Oh crap! That's my co-worker! Highly inappropriate. But, oh my.... He got bashful when I flirted with him.

I found out two weeks ago that he was in hospice. I was in complete disbelief. What? Who? What the hell are you talking about? He got sick soon after I was laid off, she said. She'd seen him, she said, and he was okay. He had accepted it. I did my bucket list, he told her. I heard the word "hospice" but it didn't register. It couldn't. I pictured him tall and tan on his paddle board. Is he going to be okay? No. That's what hospice means. He's dying.

I cried when I got home. I don't know why. We weren't that close, merely co-workers for a while. But he was a really great guy. And he was too young. 51 is not the time to die. Maybe it was the bucket list and being reminded to Live Life and Be Less Afraid.

His funeral was today. People said things like Quiet Dignity. Protective. Competitive. "Evil" Steve. I didn't know him that well, but as they talked I thought, yeah. That's him. His daughter spoke about how he lived life to the fullest and how she will take advantage of every opportunity because of him. It was harder than I thought it would be, but I'm glad I was there.

To Steve's family, I'm sorry. And that is a gross understatement. There aren't enough words or flowers or casseroles to fill the void that he has left. Just know that he has touched countless lives and that his spirit will live on through each of these encounters.

To Steve, thank you for allowing me to be a small part of your life for a little while. You will not be forgotten.


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