On Monday the 2nd Of October, 2017, Satish Singh, a colleague and friend of mine, passed away in Austin, Texas.
It’s always hard when a co-worker and friend dies . But when they take their own life, it’s a gut wrenching hollowing of your soul. And that is because this permanent solution to the victims temporary problem (although not from the victims point of view) does permanent damage to the victim, their family and the human social network that is left behind by them. And trust me the passing of Satish has left a lot of damage in its wake.
I only got to know Satish from the latter half of 2015 through email and phone calls. I met him in person for the first time in October 2016 during the Dell EMC World Conference in Austin.
Like all paying tribute to him, I found him to be a genuinely nice guy. He was cool, always smiling, and would leave a conversation with a smile on his face and your own. He introduced me to Pumpkin Lattes! They, he told me were his favorite, and that if anyone arrived to his desk with a Pumpkin Latte he’d move mountains for them. I actually tried them, and hated them. When I told him I tried them, he smiled expecting me to endorse the beverage. He had such a great smile I could not say I didn’t like them. And from then on when Pumpkin Lattes are available in a coffee house, guess what I order? Yup, Pumpkin Lattes 🙂 He was so good at Marketing 🙂
He was also as Vuong Pham called him “one of the “good guys” “.
We were thrown together due to the Dell EMC Merger. But I can honestly say it was an honour and a privilege to have worked with him. He was so well connected with Dell folks and had real personal connections too, beyond the professional. He was a wise soul too, very measured in strategic thinking and would not hold back putting holes in my anxious plans, which always made sense and resulted in them being a hell of a lot better. And Satish always knew how to solve a problem or tackle a project with people’s names. He not only knew a lot of people at Dell, he knew their strengths and who’s expertise would fit into the project or solution. He never had a bad word to say about anyone, ever. And he was a fun person to hang with. And he knew where all the good food was to be found. He loved Austin, and effused about it so much, even within 30 minutes of me first meeting him. In person or on the phone, it was always good to talk to Satish.
And moreover when it came to community, and online community engagement Satish was a kindred spirit. He really lived and breathed community. He was an excellent strategist for Community building. He really was a God send for me as a colleague during the madness and uncertainty of the Dell EMC merger and was a key person in bringing the EMC Elect and the Dell Tech Center Rockstars together to form the new Dell EMC Elect program.
He was ever the professional and smiling gent . And sadly he was very good at appearing confident and competent and genuinely awesome. I say sadly because underneath that was a man in a world of hurt and pain in the end, but even those closest to him did not know how much he was suffering until too late. That is the scourge of suicide.
I have lost 3 friends to suicide now. And all of them were amazing people who I never would have suspected would keep such pain within them hidden and feel that they only had one awful recourse. And we can never fix their problems. Ever. That’s the worst part. Because the grief, anger and guilt tied up in dealing with a death by suicide is tumultuous and hard to navigate.
While I only knew Satish for a short time, learning of his passing has been a very painful gut punch. Especially due to the fact I live in Ireland, too many miles away from Austin to properly pay my respects. I wish I could have done more for him, I really do. An awful lot of people close to him do too. A lot of people around the world feel the same way. If only he’d known how many people loved him and would have happily been a support to him in a trying time.
All we are left with now are memories and regrets.
But we have to hold onto the memories and let Satish go and be at peace. He will be missed by so many people, in Austin, Boston, the Seychelles and all over the World. He was part of a global community who valued him highly. The Dell EMC Elect, are devastated by the news of his passing.
He will be missed. But our memories of the charming gentleman and good humoured community champion will ever remain with us.
The family of Satish have setup a memorial fund for him through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (AFSP). If you wish to contribute to this not for profit organization memorial, it would be appreciated.
As a sign off I’d like to dedicate this song, the Parting Glass, by the UCD Choral Scholars, to Satish. Its a very old Scottish song that the Irish people became care takers of a long time ago. It used to be the new Years eve song until “Auld Lang’s syne” became the more popular one. I think this song evokes the loss felt by his friends, and its my way of letting Satish go, but holding on to the precious memories of him.
I offer my deepest condolences, from myself and my family, to the family of Satish and his nearest and dearest.
Rest in peace Satish.
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