I hate that I am writing this post but I think it’s necessary for me to put my soul at ease. Last Friday, I received the horrid news (via social networking no doubt) that my colleague from HOT, Chris Nadler died of a heart attack in front of his 2 young children. Reading the news for the first time elicited a loud knee jerk response of “OH MY GOD”…. And all I could keep thinking to myself is that I JUST saw him in the hall on Thursday and he greeted me with his signature sing songy “heeey Victoria!!!”.
I don’t remember meeting Chris for the first time. I was still rather new on the job scene there and we’d just suffered the sudden loss of another co-worker, Brian Marks who died of an epileptic seizure over a meal at a restaurant. They brought Chris in as his “replacement”. The first point in my memory that I recall Chris making an impression on me was that he brought his son Coltrane back to my office to meet me and my team. This 3 year old was so polite and nearly chivalrous… I had yet to meet a child so very well mannered and it made me see Chris very differently. He was a co- worker, yes, but also a father and nurturer. And as time came to reveal, a very good hearted, generous, loveable, funny guy! He had a penchant for playing up my naïveté… He knew I would rarely ever question what he was saying so he would launch off into these elaborate narratives that HAD to be true…. Till I caught the glimmer in his eye that he was TOTALLY pulling my leg! He was undeniably in LOVE with his son and daughter (Addison). He was in LOVE with music. And he loved what he did every day. When i heard that he had passed I can’t say that after the initial shock I couldn’t completely rationalize it. He worked so hard… I got the impression he didn’t sleep. Not only did he set up the actual events, buy you would see him backstage loading in heavy boxes or setting up tables. No task was beneath him. And unfortunately, this is an attitude that is increasingly hard to come by.
I attended his funeral on Monday morning and his memorial on Wednesday. And ever since Friday, my dreams have been haunted by his image and my imagination’s version of his passing in front of his kids…. Tragic situation that makes every parent who loves their kids shudder with terror. I can’t leave that little girl behind. I need her to be burying me when she is well into her 30s and beyond. When she has gotten a secure foothold on her life and abilities in this world. Not at 20 and not at 10. I had 34 wonderful years to enjoy my mom. And while I would always NEED her in my life and still deeply miss her presence… I did not “need” her anymore to survive on this Earth. I had made my own way and she didn’t worry about what I would do without her. She worried about Dom… Till her last. I know Chris was no where NEAR ready to leave Coltrane and Addison behind….
I do sincerely pray that his spirit is at peace now and that peace and comfort surround his loved ones. He is already sorely missed. I keep thinking I see him in the hallway…