Those who populate our daily existence, who provide the texture and meaning of our lives, are often taken for granted; assumed to be part of some permanent cast that fills the scenes and acts of our lives. It is only when someone suddenly disappears that we realize their role and how we may have failed to sufficiently cherish their presence and influence. The emptiness and vacuum we feel in their wake, a stark reminder that life will never quite be the same without them.
Last Monday night, I Made Suarnyana, known to his friends and co-workers simply as Kadek, died in a tragic motorcycle mishap while driving home from work along a quiet village road just north of Denpasar.
Employed with Bali Discovery Tours from the earliest days of our operation, Kadek, blossomed with the passage of time. Hired from the domestic household staff of the Company's Owner to fill the role of office boy, Kadek's cheerful demeanor and eagerness to work long hours and accept every assignment given to him, eventually earned him the opportunity to become a company driver.
To suggest that Kadek was proud of his role at Bali Discovery Tours, fails to convey the evident joy and pride he took in playing a key role in serving our guests from around the world. Making sure every guest got a fresh cold towel and the offer of bottled mineral water, after even the shortest foray outside his air-conditioned van, was just one of the ways Kadek showed his genuine concern for people around him. The obvious pride with which he wore his company uniform, would have made the addition of epaulets and gold braid a redundancy.
Now that he's gone, memories of this handsome 26 year-old man with his infectious smile flash through our recollections like movie flashbacks. His wedding ceremony in the family compound just four years ago; his special delight in joining staff outings; pieces of cake shared during the cycle of staff birthday parties; moments with his wife and son at our last New Year's Staff gathering; a daily ritual of washing his company van in the compound; his love of animals and how each of our 3 dogs waited for their "pat" and short "chat" with Kadek each evening; and how his 3 year-old boy, Agus Dion, perhaps sensing the cruelties the "fates" had in store, always insisted on holding onto his Bapak whenever he was in sight.
When Kadek's wife called late on Monday night to give us the shocking news, members of the staff rushed to his home, taking turns in a vigil prior to his burial. The Balinese calendar and cycle of festivals in his village made a formal funeral ceremony an impossibility for fear that the sanctity and purity of the village temples might be disturbed. Thus, as if to hide his death from the knowledge of local gods, his remains were literally rushed down the village streets at midnight on Tuesday and buried in the village cemetery where, in about ten day's time, a formal ceremony in his honor will be held. Later, sometime within the coming year, his body will be disinterred and cremated, allowing his soul its freedom as his ashes are deposited into the Balinese seas.
Kadek - our Made in Heaven.
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