Last Friday Trevor, one of my colleagues, failed to turn up to work. That afternoon we discovered that he had passed away during the night. He was in his 40s.
Trevor didn't enjoy good health but his death was completely unexpected. Prior to last Friday he had been one of the oldest (if not the oldest) surviving Australians born with cystic fibrosis. But if you didn't know he had it, you would never have guessed it. What you noticed was his passion and energy and determination and utter commitment to unionism. If you noticed he was aged beyond his years, the immediate assumption was that maybe he had partied a little too hard in his youth. But the only drugs Trevor took were prescription.
Trevor could be overly direct and abrupt but, as one of my friend's put it, this was because he always knew he didn't have the same amount of time as everyone else and he wanted to fit it all in. Last week he was campaigning against one of the most recalcitrant employers in Australia and negotiating with his builder over a major Art Deco renovation of his home.
Everyone was in massive shock when they heard of his death. Yes, we all knew that he had lived 20 years longer than most people with cf and that he had been in and out of hospital several times over the past months (during which time he sat up in bed writing union organising plans) but there was no warning that his time was coming now. When someone has spent their entire life beating the odds, you expect them to keep doing so.
Trevor died as all good people should; suddenly and hopefully without pain, after years of doing what he believed in. He always wanted to do more but those of us left behind know that he fitted more into his shortened life than many people twice his age with perfect health.
His legacy lives on in the many people he touched over the years.