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the end

June 30, 2011

The birds were singing, the sunflowers were in full bloom and the sky was a vibrant blue. Andy Murray had not yet been knocked out of Wimbledon and the temperature on the pharmacy clock read 31 degrees. Luis Jorges Miguel Duarte died yesterday morning, Wednesday 29th June 2011, age 33.

I haven't posted updates in recent months as after he emerged from the coma his condition remained stable but unchanged. It was a shock when the news came yesterday lunchtime, as I imagined he'd still be in the world for many years - and it gave me comfort to know that he was still here.

I hadn't given up hope that one day he would simply decide he'd had enough of lying in a hospital bed and get up and walk. (That I even thought this possible, gives some idea of the force of his personality.) But he finally laid down his arms after succumbing to a fever. His psychiatrist says that it seemed like he wanted to go.

It’s selfish I know but I’m so grateful to him for coming back to us and for holding on to life for another ten months - long enough for me to say the things I wanted to say. (Delphine is convinced that he only pulled himself out of the coma to please me.)

I wasn’t his girlfriend at the time of the accident and I ignored his calls in the months before it but I loved him all the same.

He arrived in my life like a flash of white light and with a burst of (very loud) salsa, For two wonderful summers he brought me joy and colour, hope, excitement and laughter (and, it must be said, a fair bit of angst along the way.) As I write the birds are still singing, the sky is still blue but the world is a quieter, sadder, duller place without The Lion.

He left footprints in the well of my skylight - through which he climbed into the house one evening - and on my soul. I can still picture him larger-than-life sitting outside the cafe, at a table next to me, hours before the accident on that awful Sunday.

The Lion will be buried in Amor - it means 'love' in Portugese - the small village where he was born in Leiria, northern Portugal on Saturday. Bonne nuit chéri et obragada..

comments (33)

1. Posted by Lyn on June 30, 2011 12:09 PM

So, so sorry.

2. Posted by Ange on June 30, 2011 3:02 PM

People can come into your life for a minute,a moment, or a lifetime...the most fleeting encounter can leave the biggest impression...
My deepest sympathy to you at this time.

3. Posted by Angela on June 30, 2011 6:01 PM

I too am so very sorry Karen, I really hoped that Luis would recover and have a good quality of life, my deepest sympathy to you, xx

4. Posted by Helen on June 30, 2011 6:10 PM

This is the saddest news and my heart goes out to you. He sounded like a special and unique person and even though this must be terribly painful now and will be in the months ahead perhaps one day you will feel lucky to have had him in your life even if only for a short time. I am so sorry for your loss.

5. Posted by Lyst on June 30, 2011 9:32 PM

So sorry Karen, don't know what else to say. It's s...e.

6. Posted by tricia on June 30, 2011 10:37 PM

Oh God Karen, how sad. I didn't know who the friend was but kept hoping that it wasn't the Lion & convinced myself that it wasn't. So a real shock to read that the friend was in fact Luis. He sounded such a force of nature & I loved reading about him in your last book. He sounded exciting, exasperating and very sexy, a real alpha male. I'm so sorry for your loss. The small consolation seems to be that he didn't mind slipping away, maybe it was just too much of a stuggle for him & he knew he wouldn't be the man he was & for someone like that I imagine that would only be half a life. Some people live more in thirty years than the rest of us do in 80yrs. My condolences to you & his family.

7. Posted by pierre l on July 1, 2011 12:33 AM

I am very sorry to read that. Many hugs, and thinking about you.

8. Posted by Catherine on July 1, 2011 1:39 AM

I'm so sorry for your loss.


9. Posted by Dave on July 1, 2011 2:34 PM

Deepest sympathy. I didn't know he'd had an accident. I was only reading about him in your second book the other day. A great big virtual hug for you.

Senhora da Nazaré, rogai por ele e por Karen.

10. Posted by Amanda on July 1, 2011 3:51 PM

I am so sorry to hear your news Karen. May the coming few months be gentle on you and my Luis rest in peace. You are in my thoughts and prayers. xx

11. Posted by jo on July 1, 2011 6:49 PM

I'm watching the slow-motion whirling dervish movements of the red kite in this hidden gem of a village in the Chilterns and perhaps because of his strength and grace, I'm thinking of your Luis and the words of 'Lord of the Dance' keep going round in my head. Dance, dance wherever you may be, I am the Lord of the Dance said he. The Dance goes on. All your readers are sending you loving vibes right now x

12. Posted by Rachel on July 1, 2011 7:36 PM

So sorry to hear such sad news.

13. Posted by Val on July 1, 2011 9:27 PM

I'm so sorry Karen, I was so hoping for a 'happy' ending x

14. Posted by Loraine on July 1, 2011 9:42 PM

Dear Karen, So sorry to hear your sad news. No words seem enough at times like this but sending you love and strength anyway. xxx

15. Posted by Di on July 2, 2011 12:03 AM

Dear Karen, I've just finished reading both your books in rapid succession and decided to Google you and found your blog. I'm so very sorry to hear about Luis. Sending thoughts and kind wishes. Di xx

16. Posted by Anne Hill on July 2, 2011 12:06 PM

Dear Karen, so very sorry to hear your sad news....I too was hoping for a happy ending to Luis's accident...hold on the the happy memories you have of him....sending you my love Annie

17. Posted by Melanie on July 2, 2011 5:17 PM

So sorry to hear that Luis has passed Karen kind regards to you Melanie

18. Posted by Vanessa@Luxuria on July 2, 2011 7:06 PM

So sad to read this post. Never expected it for one moment despite keeping up to date with his progress. How very sad. My thoughts are with you.

19. Posted by Lancashire Lass on July 2, 2011 9:52 PM

How sad. I'm so sorry x

20. Posted by paulmillen on July 3, 2011 10:10 PM

Sad News.

21. Posted by Paula on July 3, 2011 11:49 PM

Such sad, sad news Karen. Take care, Paula X

22. Posted by Inez Kershaw on July 6, 2011 12:43 AM

So sorry at the loss of The Lion! I am sad to hear of his passing. I too like others did not want to think it might be him? Sending you some love & hugs Karen!

23. Posted by Ray-D on July 6, 2011 6:15 PM

Very sad news Karen, I had hoped this was one post you would never need to write as Luis has fought for so long to hang on. I guess he decided he just couldn't fight any longer. Take comfort in knowing that he is no longer suffering. My sympathies for your loss.

24. Posted by Liz Bryant on July 7, 2011 11:11 AM

Oh my god, Karen. I am so so sorry for your loss. I hope the outpouring of condolences and love from your readers is a help through the days ahead. I write this with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, because without knowing him, through your vivid and emotive writing, we do all know him. Following your blog since the accident, I think many have been willing for "your friend" to have not been Luis, although in truth,we worked out that it was. He is at peace now and the Lion does indeed sleep tonight. My deepest sympthies, hun, and much much love.
Liz xxxx

25. Posted by Carole on July 7, 2011 9:16 PM

Oh no, not the Lion. I am so very sorry to hear this. It was such a pleasure to read about him in your book. I hope your memories bring some relief from the sadness. My condolences.

26. Posted by gwenda on July 8, 2011 11:26 AM

I know I have already been in touch, but on reading all these messages to you I must add my own again. You painted such a great picture of a great character and we all have the memories of this and the chance to re- read all about him. So many friends join in thanking you for talking about him in such a way that we feel we knew him, and all these friends are feeling for you at this sad time.

27. Posted by Diane on July 8, 2011 5:06 PM

Very, very sad for him, you and everyone who will miss him. X

28. Posted by Carol Gee on July 12, 2011 10:54 PM

I'm so very very sorry to hear your sad news. I can't really beleive it - I felt so sure that he would pull through in the end. My condolences Karen, you are in my thoughts x x

29. Posted by Laetitia Hannan on July 14, 2011 12:47 PM

I finished your second book last night, almost unable to put it down since I picked it up, and can't wait to read the first. Naturally, I "googled" you and have just now read about The Lion. I am so sorry for your sadness and the ache left by losing a loved one. He sounded quite extraordinary on so many levels.

Bijous to Biff, he sounds totally adorable and love and warm thoughts to you.

30. Posted by Carole Ashcroft on July 15, 2011 1:44 PM

I just finished reading your second book this morning and googled your first book/found this link. The Lion sounded so vibrant and full of life in your book - I am so sorry that he has gone .........

31. Posted by sherry on July 31, 2011 9:05 AM

Just come back from being away so wanted to catch up on your blog. I'm so sorry and genuinely sad to read about Luis. I have often thought about him and prayed for him over the past few months. Thinking of you x

32. Posted by Frances Judd on July 31, 2011 10:21 AM

Dear Karen, When I read about a friend having a bad accident I had an intuition it was Luis. He had made such an impact and this came through your second book. Have just been on your blog today after 6 weeks in Languedoc and was shocked to find that he had died. I feel as though I knew him and am so sorry that he has gone. It is such sad news but he will live on in your books.

33. Posted by Judy F on August 2, 2011 12:34 AM

Dear Karen, I just finished reading your 1st & 2nd book and was so happy at the end of the 2nd one that you found him. Have not been following your blog and decided to google you and find out what happened. I am so sad, it is like losing a friend. Like one of the other posters said "The Lion indeed sleeps tonight". RIP - although I did not know you - you have certainly made an impact in many lives through the book.

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