We had a co-worker named David, who was in charge of inventory and supplies. He was funny, snarky, kind-hearted, generous, and at times, a huge pain in the ass. But you couldn't really be mad at David, because everything he did, he did for the good of the company. If he hassled you about spending, it was because he wanted us to have more money to spend on the kids. If he was a pain about purchasing, it was because he wanted you to be a better shopper and look for deals. David didn't beat around the bush, either. He was blunt but fair. He'd shake his head at those of us who'd bicker in the hallways. "Feel the love," he said, sarcastically.
He also supplied the entire office with snacks, even though he didn't eat them. There were always chips-- Cheetos, Doritos, Ruffles--soda pop, cereal and milk, the occasional fruit, and once a month or so, donuts. We joked that David was fattening us up for the Zombie apocalypse, to ensure that he was faster than the rest of us. If David knew you liked a certain food, he'd make sure to pick some up. There was always a box of Froot Loops for D. And every October, throughout the whole month, I'd come to work to find mystery bags of candy corn on my desk, as if the Candy Corn Fairy had visited in the night. I love me some candy corn and David knew it. He brought us movie passes and shared DVDs. He cooked the turkey for our staff Thanksgiving, and baked the richest chocolate cake ever--it required at least two glasses of milk.
On Wednesday, in the middle of a meeting, David collapsed. The staff administered CPR, the paramedics did what they could, but David passed away. He had been sick for some time, although you'd never have known it because he never complained or acted sick. He truly believed in the work we do, the benefit our students derive from the programs we have, and the people here who work make it all happen. He loved us and we loved him. And now, we miss him terribly.
Yesterday, as we all tried to come to grips with our loss, we talked about the last conversation we had with him, and every one of us ended on a positive note. So, that's what we're taking away from this tragedy. End your conversations on a positive note. And feel the love.