It is always strange to realize that somebody has passed away, that literally a person has departed from your life for ever and that you will never see him or her again. It is even more weird when this happens to somebody that you knew only up to a certain point -- an acquaintance, if language can come to the rescue in trying to define somebody you couldn't say you were properly friends with, but whom you would have been more than happy to know more of, if only things had gone in a different way in life. Right, if only ...
During the past four years in Lugano there have been many people that ended up into this category and who are still there; I should really blame my shyness and inanity rather than any metaphysical agent like destiny or fate if I never went further than a few random chats over a beer or during the lunch break with all these fellows, but I guess I am a bit too severe with my social skill, which in the end -- let's admit it -- are pretty good for a PhD student in computer science -- a «nerd», as many in the big world would call me, a «geek» if you are a nerd yourself and you are discussing about the differences between the two terms on some internet forum. So no big remorse if I am not socially bulimic; I don't pretend this to be such a big confession for most of the people reading it anyway.
It is death that, however, comes and turns up everything, suddenly making all so complicate to grasp and accept. Leaving you to wonder how much you knew this person, how and in what way he or she mattered to you. I received news of the tragic death of Adina, a fellow PhD student (actually, PhD candidate) at my department, yesterday afternoon, while I was listening to a song by Dead Can Dance called «De Profundis» (I guess there is such thing as Destiny, at least for the sake of having something to hold accountable for for all the irony in things like this). I was in the middle of the lazy Sunday I had been longing for for the past five days -- five long weekdays -- and I was also «celebrating» the «mission» of having seen the exhibition of Giovanni Segantini's paintings in Basel the day before (that I go to the exhibition of the «painter of the Alps» and a friend of mine dies in a hiking accident is another point to the existence of our friend the Destiny).
It was a devastating news. Of course being in Zurich and not anymore in Lugano, in the social environment we both belonged to, has helped in fighting off the gloomyness (another time for the story of how I did not cry at the news of my grandmother's death when I was a teenager), but even in this sober mood things don't get easier to understand and elaborate. One thing is clear though: Adina was a unique person and she will be greatly missed. I don't think there is other message to take home here, and to anybody who accidentally got to spend five minutes reading this I deeply apologize: sometimes you just need to put thought in written form in the hope they will look clearer later. I'll try to read this some time in the future and see if the exercise has helped.
In the meanwhile: goodbye friend.