I was sitting at my desk yesterday, counting down the minutes until it was time to go home, when a friend came over, in tears, to see me.
Bad news is never expected. Bad news comes out of nowhere and punches you in the gut.
A mutual friend of ours, someone I had worked with myself and adored, collapsed at work that afternoon and passed away. Sudden.
I couldn’t breathe. As I made my way home, I began to shake. I was numb. In shock.
I haven’t worked with Shane in 10 years. But when I was at the bookstore, he was one of my favourite people. He was one of My Shippers. I loved the men in the shipping department. They were my gang of protectors. They came to my wedding. They joined me for my Birthday Bowling Extravaganzas. Every time I’d see them at a union meeting, I’d always go over for hugs and gossip.
Shane was always someone I could count on to make me laugh. He was never a doom and gloom guy. Not a chipper, cheerleader fellow, but someone with a sharp wit and sarcastic streak, and someone who always had a joke, or comment to make me laugh.
He lived hard. He played hard. He was Shane. I always thought of him as The Fonz of the group. He was the Cool Guy. Listening to the rock station (always on in the shipping department). He always put a smile on my face.
I went looking through all of my bowling party photos from the early 2000s (I don’t like saying early 2000s! Wasn’t 10 years ago the 90s??) and it seems like I don’t have any photos of Shane’s FACE. Just the backs of his awesome bowling shirts, or him in a group shot with a bowling ball in his face. But then I saw the photo I used for this post, and it was just…so very Shane. The flames on his shirt. So him.
He was a bright, fiery guy. He was flames. He was fire. He was fierce.
And now he’s gone. And I can’t get my head around this fact.
I was just talking to him about a month ago, when we were voting on our new contract at work. I saw My Shippers and went over for hugs and gossip. I hadn’t seen them in too long and I felt sort of guilty about not having stopped by to visit. I had a difficult year, so a lot of things fell by the way-side (like socializing). We talked about the number of years left before retirement. Of My Shippers, I believe he had the most years left.
And now he’s gone.
I can’t even imagine the bookstore, and shipping, without Shane. Shane, Bernie, Sean, Che… they are My Shippers. And I have a huge space in my heart for them. These guys are part of what makes my time at McGill so amazing. I loved spending time in the shipping department. No matter what I was going through, they made me laugh, and feel like I could get through anything. They were like a gang of big brothers who looked out for me.
I love My Shippers.
And my heart feels a little less full with the loss of one of them. Though my heart is full of grief, and love, for my friends at the store who were with him when this happened, and who have to go into work today without him. I am covering them all in love right now.
Your flame was bright, Shane. The world is a little darker without it.