“Death ends a life but not a relationship, which struggles in the survivor’s mind, towards some resolution, that it may never find.” -I Never Sang for My Father
How do you walk into an office after a colleague has died? With trembling legs, with a certain numbness, with eyes watering. You go up the elevator on which you so many times saw him, where you talked about your weekends, about the work load or about his latest haircut. And the thing you didn’t want to believe, you must face.
This past week we lost our leader, our guide and our friend. The Director of our office was killed in a car accident on his way back from a client meeting. The news of his death has rocked our office, reminding us how delicate life is, how even such a great man can so easily be taken from the world.
He was Shahbaz that would make his way around the office stopping at each last cubicle to see how everyone was doing, to wish them a happy holiday or to simply say hello. He was Shahbaz who laughed because in all his years of working in Istanbul, I was the first person to ask him to lunch. He was Shahbaz who was the most senior person in our office and region, who was a Director of IFC but who I just a month ago saw standing outside the public bus stop to take the Havas to the airport. He didn’t see the sense in wasting work resources on a taxi and took the cheap public option instead- in his full suit, of course.
He was Shahbaz who had a soft voice and a very gentle manner with which in his special way he managed to command the respect of the highest government officials and industry leaders all over the world. He was a man who committed his life to helping the developing world and was loved by so many in the international community, but especially by us in the Istanbul office.
In his life he taught me the characteristics of a great leader and human being and in his death he teaches me of the miracle of life. He is dearly missed.