This morning was a good morning to wake up. It was the date of celebration of my birth. I looked around me and saw our younger children and my wife asleep and felt contentment. I grabbed my IPhone, which had signaled me it was time to awake and walked into the bathroom for a good teeth brushing.
As I sat down to see what was ahead in my day, I glanced at an email from a business colleague. He was giving me some information concerning an upcoming trip and at the end of his note, he said that he wanted to share some sad news. Alex Elyjiw had died over the weekend.
I often don’t have a strong response to hearing such news. This time was different. I haven’t know Alex for long and our relationship didn’t extend beyond the office. Yet I feel that I knew him in a way that was very personal. When we first met, he was getting ready to go visit his son who lives in Florida with his mom and step-dad. Alex was clearly excited about spending time with Lucas. He was also remarking about the respectful relationship he had with his former wife and her husband. Whatever the issues they may have had that lead to their divorce there were long in the past.
I saw Alex a week or so after his Florida trip and he was filled with such love of his son and an exuberance to share all parts of his trip including many pictures. This passion for life carried over into his life with his fiance and his friends fortunately for me to his relationships at work. I always felt more alive after a visit with him.
What got me thinking though was not so much the question of mortality, but the question of relationships. I realize that I can have at times an almost transactional nature to relationships. These are relationships that I put time into because I am involved with some work related project with the other person. When our work involvement stops for a while, then I will often fall out of connection with that person. In the case of Alex, after the project we were working on concluded, I put my attention elsewhere.
What a loss for me. By my neglect, I missed out continuing to be in the presence of this wonderful man. As I considered this more today, I can look back over my life and see lots of times when I moved on with other people as well. I was too busy with doing to allow myself to be with those that touch my life and I theirs.
What a poignant reminder on my birthday. Alex you are remembered with love,