Words From Andy
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requiescat in pace - 11/9/07

I’ve had this bog for about a month now, a little less maybe, and I have to say I’ve really really enjoyed writing in it. It only makes since as I do enjoy writing in my spare time, about stuff that I want to write about. This time is different. This is an entry I wish I never had to write, but unfortunately I do. Yesterday I learned of the passing of my colleague and friend Ali Turab. It was a huge blow to my office that could be felt all day, and I’m sure will be felt for a long time. I got into the office at 9:30, and was frankly surprised to not see his car there. I had had a running conversation going with him over whether or not Odin existed which I was going to finally put to rest. I figured he may have been running a bit late, until I walked into the office.   One of our receptionists asked me if I had heard about the fire. I said I hadn’t and she continued to explain that Ali’s house had caught on fire and at least two students from RIT were dead. We tried to keep positive, and when we learned that his friend Seth was pronounced dead, we had a slight hope Ali had made it. Jenny, our receptionist, thought she had heard one of the deceased students was from New York, Seth was from Florida, Ali from New Jersey, which would mean Ali was ok. We didn’t know for sure and my boss asked me to monitor it for her. I did and around 11:30 I read an article on the Democrat and Chronicle’s website that I’ll never forget. Ali was dead at 21. I was the only one in my side of the office, and I knew I had to go over and tell Jacque, my boss. So I stood looking out the window for a good 5 minutes trying to figure out just how to say it. It’s not an easy thing to do, in fact it’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I lost a friend two years ago and had to face her parents and tell them how sorry I was for them, this ranks up there, and to be perfectly honest I’m not sure which was is harder. How do you tell someone that the person you see almost every day is dead? I finally figured out what I was going to say and walked over to my boss’s office. She was on the phone. So I sat down at her desk to wait for her. Instead she gave me a piece of paper and told me to write down what I wanted on it.   “Ali was the second fatality” I didn’t know what else to write. I looked down at my chicken scratch and slid the note over to Jacque. It was a look of shock, disbelief, and utter bewilderment. She finished her conversation on the phone and asked how I knew. The news paper I told her. She quickly looked it up on her computer, her only response was “oh my God.” She told the office staff. We’re a small company, only about 10 of us, so we all knew Ali, we’re all fairly close and are almost like a family. So after the announcement came the room was just dead silent. Shawn looked out at Jacque, mouth half open. Jenny looked down at her feet. Melissa gasped in shock and Erin said “oh no.” and covered her mouth. I did the only thing I could do, I hung my head and just looked at the ground. Ali was a great guy. I realize people always say it after someone has passed, but there is no exaggeration, no hyperbole when I say it. He truly was one of a kind. He was a man who loved life, loved school, and always seemed to have his act together. We would sit in the office and talk about almost anything all day while working on our projects. From highly theoretical philosophy to his schemes for winning the library’s chili cook off. One of his favorite words to use was legitimately. “I feel this is legitimately feasible.” “Yeah, that kid legitimately knows what he’s doing.” “There’s no way you can’t be legitimate when you wear a pea coat.” I think he valued legitimacy so much that he strived for it in himself. He was so laid back and easy to get along with. Yesterday, Matt, our site coder, reflected on Ali. Saying he kept having flash backs to Wednesday when Ali said “see you Friday” in such a matter of fact manner. It was so odd, Matt and I tried to get our work done, but to be honest it was a lost cause. It was as like a war movie in which the beloved commanding officer is lost. It was that feeling.   So it’s with a heavy hear that I write this. I don’t want to, but I have to. Ali was a great guy, but sometimes even the greatest are lost. Ali, I’ll catch you on the flip side.

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