I didn’t think I would be writing another sad one so soon.
As I sit here, in another document, there is a much sillier column, riffing on the recently announced Oscar nominations. But every time I look up I see an empty desk, so anything silly has to wait another week.
In some cases, I do not feel qualified to handle the sad ones. It always seems that however I knew the person in question, other people knew them better, other people were in a better position to really do it justice.
I am not the right person to eulogize Bill O’Boyle. I didn’t really know him beyond work. And yet I feel I have to say something. Because that empty desk is sitting there and it feels wrong to go through the week without acknowledging that it is there.
It is strange that he won’t be back to it, to say “oh jeez” about something that went wrong or was just a bit embarrassing. I will miss how he was always genuinely appreciative when something someone in the office did was helpful. I’ll miss his jokes, especially the ones at the expense of Calvin Daniels, because he seemed to know how to get a good reaction out of him, which just made it funnier. I’ll just plain miss him, because he was someone who made this office a better place to work.
The strange thing is that as much as I knew him I didn’t, we didn’t really know each other beyond work, didn’t really see each other outside of office hours. I am surrounded by people who knew him better, worked with him longer and were closer. In that way I feel strange writing this, because I’m not the person in the room feeling the biggest loss. Those people surround me, still reeling from the first big loss in the office a month ago, not expecting to go through the same emotions again so soon.
It’s also a punch to the gut because it nobody had time to prepare, from every indication things were looking up for him. He was going into surgery, sure, but it also felt like things would start looking up when the surgery was over and he was on the road to recovery.
The last time I talked to him we spoke about his then-upcoming surgery. He made a joke about having someone stick a bunch of knives in his back. I said he wasn’t selling it very well but I hoped it worked. I didn’t expect that would be the last time I ever talked to him. I hoped the surgery would work, that his back would be better, I could take over as the back pain king of Yorkton This Week and all would be well.
And now I look at his desk, and it just feels so empty over there.