Please forgive me for the non-cooking post, but I will have to digress a little bit and write about something else. The title says it all – and says nothing at all. Two days ago, we lost a friend. Demos was a friend from work, someone I held very high in my list of «good people».
Kind, always smiling, with a huge heart and a calm peace that rubbed off on everything around him, making his surroundings a little brighter even in the darkest of days, Demos was no stranger to tragedy. In fact, he lost his wife to cancer shortly after their beautiful daughter was born. After that, he devoted his life to raising their beautiful Juliette and making sure that, while she never forgot her mom, she missed nothing at all.
A few years back, Demos quit his job, packed up his things, took Juliette by the hand and moved to the beautiful island of Skyros. It was there where he had met his wife, there where he had married her, it was the island they had loved together and he wanted to share it with Juliette as well. «She will have a normal, happy, carefree childhood there» he said to me, when we were hugging our goodbyes. «She will play like children are supposed to play and be happy and carefree and careless and stupid. We all deserve the right to do that».
«And what will you do?» I asked him.
«I will enjoy the beauty of nature and life», he answered.
Ironically, that was what took him away. Nature.
On Tuesday afternoon Demos and Juliette went out for a swim. They opted for a semi-secluded beach, instead of the busy, filled with tourists beaches of the island, so that they would have more fun. While Juliette was in the water, the wind grew stronger and the waves got bigger, dragging her away from the shore. Demos dove to get her, fought with the sea and brought his baby back out on the shore. But, exhausted as he was, he couldn’t keep himself safe. The sea took him.
For two days they were searching for him, and yesterday morning, he was discovered by the port authorities. Dead.
He will be buried there, in the island he so loved. It is pretty painful to think about him, but it is heart shattering to think about Juliette. That 9 year old child that has now suffered so much pain – and is up for a whole mountain of it in the future, having lost both of her parents.
My heart goes out to Demos’ family and of course Juliette. Although in times of tragedy we can all lean on one another for comfort, the truth is, we can only depend on ourselves and our own efforts to heal. And that is one mountain they will have to climb on their own.
What I will miss the most about Demos, is the knowledge that he is somewhere out there on this planet. His huge heart, his kindness, his never-ending smile, his calm certainty, his concealed sense of humor, his carefree spirit, his open mind, his good nature, made him the kind of person that render this world worth living in.
He had devoted his whole life to his daughter, and in the end died to save her. I can think of no nobler act. But I still can’t think of a way to fill the huge gap that he is leaving behind.
So long, my friend. I hope where you are going, it’s filled with the love and respect you so deserve.