Posted on August 11, 2022

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Paige used to work as a waitress at our local hotel. Often, when Michelle and I would arrive at the bar, we’d find our favourite wine and glasses waiting for us—Paige having spotted us at the door quickly arranged them. She was on the ball and her thoughtful actions always made us feel welcome.

We’d also see her on the other side of the bar as a patron sometimes. Our local is a happy place and consequently, the staff often socialise there too on free days. We’d see Paige in her Greater Western Sydney beanie, come to see a football game on the big screen. Sometimes we’d find seats for each other at the best table to share the best view; and always there was banter and laughter, paying out on each other’s favourite teams.

Even though she’d taken up a new career in the past year and no longer had shifts at our hotel, we’d still see her there from time-to-time; and she’d often come up in conversations there as an exemplar of customer service and overall loveliness as a person. Only weeks after one such conversation, we were told Paige, just shy of 30, had died in a car accident two Mondays ago.

As we reeled from the news, memories flooded back, quickly followed by denial and the ardent wish to simply turn the damn clock back.

We remembered her the day she won a round of shots for her friends, after catching and kissing a goldfish from the pond to win a dare. It was Paige at her finest, full of joy and generosity. This golden moment against the impenetrable reality she was gone.

If loss has a value, perhaps it’s the reminder to make many happy memories with those who mean much to us: to actively appreciate them; build them up; to take an interest in their world and well-being; to laugh and enjoy the moments shared.

For we never know, when someone’s seat at the table will become vacant.

Ray and Michelle

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