Gustavo de Mello was a fan of opera, Woody Allen, skydiving, and Jethro Tull.
Although I knew Gustavo, I didn't know any of this. I knew him only as a warm and gracious 38-year-old who loved his family, loved California, loved his native Uruguay and was passionate about his work.
Mostly, I knew him as a colleague and student of consumer behavior. He was a member of the MarketingProfs team, a close friend of Publisher Allen Weiss and author Debbie MacInnis, and a doctoral student at the University of Southern California. Like many people, I was looking forward to knowing him better when he moved to New England this summer to start his teaching career at Dartmouth.
It occurred to me—after learning of his sudden and violent death late last week by a reckless and unknown driver—how I, like much of the world, wasn't able (actually, will never be able) to know him long enough or well enough to share anything… well, more.
In as much time as it took the speeding SUV to barrel through a crosswalk, Gustavo is gone—along with the chance to share any more of life with him.
We've lost the chance to share laughter and insights over things he wrote about with characteristic humor and earnestness on his USC Web page—Diane Keaton's neurotic Annie Hall or David Eggers' Staggering Genius autobiography.
Reading about his passions and hobbies and work now comes as almost a double ache: we've been robbed of both his past and his future.
What is certain is that Gustavo's family and closest friends are heartbroken by his death. They have lost a son, brother, uncle and dear friend. What's also clear is that so many more of us will feel the loss of him in countless smaller ways.
Equally tragic is the loss that's hardly felt—by those who may not recognize the potential of what it might have meant to more fully know Gustavo in the future.
Or even worse, the loss that won't be felt at all—by those whose lives he'll never have a chance to touch.
Until next week,
Chief Content Officer