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..