I found out yesterday that one of my colleagues, Alain Letourneau, passed away overnight. He was just 41. He died of a brain hemorrhage after he fell and banged his head while shopping at a local mall.
The crazy thing is that nobody, including Alain himself, really expected him to last to a ripe old age: he had been the recipient of a heart transplant, and he was frequently battling low-grade rejection while suffering from weakened kidneys. But by dying from something as random and universally applicable as slipping and falling, Alain managed to inject healthy dose of perspective into all of our lives. Did you live your life today the way that you would have if it was your last day? is one of the few things I can think about. As cliched as it may be, I think it's a perfectly appropriate reminder to take away from Alain's death.
I'm going to miss Alain. In the few months that we worked together, I felt like we had already developed a close bond. He had studied philosophy and loved coffee; enough said. He had worked in the New York public library system in the Bronx straight out of library school, in near poverty, and I was looking forward to hearing stories about his time there. Alain had no family in Sudbury, not even a girlfriend. He told me several times that he did not love himself enough to reproduce himself, but he could love a woman enough to want to reproduce her... then he would sigh, and say "Ah well, but it seems that there is no woman for me" and shrug off any suggestion that that was nonsense. Maybe he wasn't cut out for romantic relationships, but I enjoyed our too-brief working relationship.
So this morning I went for a nice, long walk with Lynn and Amber, then puttered around the house most of the rest of the day. I planted some mint and chives out back, mowed more of the lawn, and pedalled around town to take care of a few errands. Life is a little greyer with Alain's passing, but it is very clear to me that my life is very good.