I lost a former colleague yesterday.
Well, I lost him once before when he retired last year. But this time it’s forever.
He was an older gentleman whom we all adored. For most of us, if not all of us, we have never been in this office without him.
He was youthful for his age and I chalked it up to his childlike wonder. His office was the first one I have seen since my dot com days to have toys in it. He particularly liked all variety of Elmos and those dancing and singing ones which annoyed his assistant to no end. I contributed a few pieces to her further misery and his delight. I would bring my Bouncing Tigger over to play with one of his Elmos once in a while and he would visit me whenever he had a new toy.
This time of year, if he was around, he would set up his Christmas train set over by his office and let it run all day. It was something we all were looking forward to all year.
On a daily basis, he would take a walk around the office to visit and joke around with everyone. Fart jokes were his forte. You’d know he’d been to which corner by the giggles and laughter you’d hear.
He was good natured even when he was in a bad mood. As a matter of fact, I never saw him with a frown. He might be frustrated at something or someone but he would turn it into humor and we laughed at those things and people he wasn’t happy about.
When he said he was retiring, there was a hole punched right through out morale. The office had been awfully somber and surprisingly stuffy without his antics.
As he packed up his office, he handed over a few toys to me to keep. When we heard the news of his passing yesterday, I spent some time holding his voice-activated Macarena gorilla.
We knew this day would come, given his age and health conditions. But we never thought it would be so sudden.
His health had increasingly become an issue in the past few years, but he was still very spry. He didn’t stay retired long before taking up a part time gig across town. Just last week people saw him at a meeting and he was as well as the day left the office for the last time. Last we heard, the doctors even gave him a clean bill of health.
He was supposed to meet his friend for lunch yesterday and never showed up. Since he lived alone, and the last time this happened he had broken an leg and laid hapless on the ground for hours, his friend called the fire department. They found his body.
The office was in a state of shock yesterday. I think we might still be. It’s one thing for this colleague to not be in the office but another to know that he is gone forever.
I’ve missed you for a while now, Jackalope. I’m just going to miss you a lot more.
RIP my friend.