Saturday, November 12, 2011

Adieu, dear neighbor

For years, the first person I would see at Gamone, early in the morning, was André Repellin, whom we all called "Dédé". He had the regular habit of strolling slowly up the road that runs alongside my house. Up on the slopes above Gamone, he would gaze out upon the magnificent panorama of the valley of the Bourne, and the surrounding mountains. Then he would turn around and walk back down to his home, a few hundred meters below my place. If I happened to meet up with him on the road, Dédé would always greet me with the same exclamation: "Ah, William, you're particularly matinal today." Obviously, in Dédé's eyes, I didn't have the reputation of being an early riser.

Seven months ago, Dédé was totally stunned by the death of his unique daughter Françoise, after a lengthy bout with leukemia [see my blog post]. Except for rare moments of interest in the outside world (which I had the privilege of observing on several occasions), Dédé's enthusiasm for life appeared to have waned. And his spirits were dampened by the boring obligation of being driven to Romans and back, three times a week, for dialysis treatment.

Madeleine phoned me this morning to tell me, calmly, that her husband had passed away peacefully, in the middle of the night, at the hospital in Romans. She will be faced with the challenge of adjusting her existence to the absence of both Dédé and Françoise. Personally, I'm convinced that Madeleine has the required determination and moral stamina to deal successfully with this new situation.

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