April 29, 2012

Remembering Lenami

At the time I got the call from my old boss, I was agonizing over spreadsheet data, spending what little time of sun there was over the weekend working on a head count, slicing data this way and that way.

At the time I got the call from my old boss, I was having trouble making sense of it all.

At the time of the call, I was grumbling under my breath about not brining my mouse home on the weekend, instead navigating the jungle of Excel spreadsheets with the trackpad on the laptop. The numbers were turning into four letter words.

After the call, the anger was gone, the four letter words replaced by a name. And after being awash in data and figures, there was a clear number in my head: One.

What my former boss called to tell me was that, in case I hadn’t already heard or seen the story, Lenami Godinez was dead.

Lenami Godinez, a witty, intelligent, interesting, soft spoken but self-assured 27 year old, born and raised in Mexico and living in Vancouver for the past nine years. She was also my friend and office mate in a very recent past; sitting ten feet away from me, eight hours a day, Monday to Friday.

"Lenami" is the word--the name--in my head, and ‘one’ is my consideration of her one life cut short this past weekend after a freak hang gliding accident that saw her freefall to her death.

One. One weekend that I stayed at home with the family to do family things, and do work things while the kids were napping.

One. One weekend that Lenami and her boyfriend chose to try something new, something adventurous.

I will remember Lenami for all those reasons stated above—a warm personality and a pleasure to be around—and more. She was passionately concerned for the environment, and she wasn’t someone who just talked about it. She tried to act for change, whether it was attending a free public lecture on global warming or making career moves to put her closer to an end goal of being able to affect change (she was hired on to the Ministry of Environment in past months), and even her choice of boyfriend was eco-considerate, he being an environmental engineer focused on renewable energy. Lenami was one of those people who stood for something, and you couldn’t help but admire her for it.

Willing to try new things, there were plenty of weekend outdoor adventures to be had that I would hear about when she came into the office in the mornings—bike trips, camping, painting apartment walls crazy colours while her boyfriend was away, finding her way into a random Karakoe bar with her boyfriend’s birthday entourage, subbing in for a local Ultimate Frisbee team... adventure comes in many forms, and Lenami was often looking for it, big or small...which is why even with an end so sudden and shocking as this, I am glad to know she was being herself, exploring the natural world in a brave, exciting new way.

Crunch the numbers however you like, but we only get one life on this earth. One. I will try to hold on to the thought that, before the fall, there was that one moment of new exhilaration, of stepping off the edge, of leaving land behind and being above it all like a bird.

My heart goes out to your boyfriend, your family, and your many friends, Lenami.

You will be missed, but today, we know that you are soaring.

To learn about a scholarship established in Lenami's name through Simon Fraser University, please visit http://www.rememberinglena.com/
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