Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hugo Rouillé



It has been several weeks and I think now maybe I can put a few thoughts to writing. I want to tell you about someone who was extraordinary, if you will give me a few minutes. I want to share this because I want to tell as many people as I can about Hugo and what a wonderful young man he was.

Hugo passed away at the age of 29 from an accident while riding his bicycle in Shek O. Even now I feel disbelief at the news. He was an experienced cyclist but accidents can happen, I know that. Just, it feels like the world has turned upside down when nothing is fair anymore.

At his young age, Hugo accomplished so much, which is heartening and yet bittersweet; one cannot help but think of all that was yet to come. That is in essence what gnaws at my stomach when I think about him: the stupendous potential for amazing things that he possessed.

Hugo was a plant engineer for the massive Tunnel Boring Machine that is out there near Yuen Long. As a bit of an infrastructure groupie, I was in awe of the project. I always wanted to visit the site though not as I did, to attend the Bai Sun that the company arranged to honor him. At the site I saw hundred of people from engineers to the construction crew who were deeply affected by his loss. This was not surprising considering how interested he was in each person that he met. SB told me that there was never a conversation that he had with Hugo in three years where he didn't walk away with a smile. Hugo was one of those people who made friends everywhere he went because he genuinely wanted to know you.

At the service that our rugby club hosted for Hugo, we met so many different people whose lives were touched by Hugo and it was astounding to realize how engaged Hugo had been with so many varied activities. He was an exceedingly talented rugby player and that is how I best knew him aside from the engineer, but we heard stories from members of the ultra running community who shared how Hugo was one of the 33 people who finished the 50/50 challenge put on by the 9 Dragons Ultra. They have retired his number 24 race number. The stairmasters held a moment of silence to honor him recently. Several runners shared anecdotes of chatting with him about a diverse range of subjects during some of the ultra-marathon events, revealing that they wanted to talk more but eventually succumbed to fatigue and had to tell Hugo to keep going without them.

Other people talked about Hugo's trip to Nepal last year and how he was in the process of planning a return. In lieu of flowers, Hugo's family is asking to donate to a Nepal NGO that supports children. Oh, and then there is his family. Each member of Hugo's family was just as fascinating and wonderful as Hugo, causing me joy and devastation. His father is a scientist, his mother is an education professional, his sister is an art historian...it hurt me so much thinking why, why, why why? Why Hugo who had so much to offer the world?

I don't have answers and I don't know how long it will take for this acute pain in my stomach to subside. I only know that I want to share with my readers who Hugo was. We have lost a most lovely and fascinating young man far too soon.

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