“Shining Star,” a goodbye to a dear colleague

Yesterday, we celebrated the upcoming retirement of a colleague I work with.  Today was supposed to be his last day of work, but the man of the hour never showed up to his own retirement party.  Then we were informed late last night that he had been found dead in his apartment.  He had been suffering from some strange and unexpected health issues over the last few weeks but was unwilling to seek medical help, and just wanted to ride it out and see if he could get through it on his own.  Regretfully, he could not, and I can’t help but think about how we were all eating and celebrating while he was lying dead in his apartment.  I also can’t help but think about how he worked until he died, never able to cash in the rewards of retirement, nor to cash in on a lifetime of frugality which he likely did in order to retire before he turned 60. I find this to be a painful reminder of how short life can be, and that we shouldn’t live-to-work but rather should work-to-live, with the few and precious years we’re given.

I decided to write a poem honoring some of the memories we had of him, trying to incorporate some of what I’d learned about him over the years.  He will be missed.

“Shining Star”

I knew a man who loved to laugh
A sense of humor quite his own
Sharing stories with all the staff
Bright’ning days, the light he shone

A brilliant man, who knew a lot
You want a beer? He knew the spot!
A lager, pilsner, ale or stout
He brewed his own, you’d never doubt

The man loved cars, and trucks, and all
And loved to watch the horses race
Impressed by power, big or small
It put a smile on his face

Fond of nature, the trails and lakes
Of all the beauty that she makes
He’d kayak, bike, and take some pics
And loved to tinker, loved to fix

He studied industrial arts
Though many a trade he had learned
And replacing so many parts
With all of the wrenches he turned

A kind and gentle man he was
For this and that, or just because
With love for all the dogs and cats
He’d seek them out, their habitats

A star that twinkled in our sky
Has flickered out, so we reflect
He was indeed a special guy
Who earned his place and our respect

– May he rest in peace. –

Advertisements