But on the summer night when he died while she slept, probably while he slept, too, she woke in the cool dark, the windows open and a pale light in the sky, and the birds singing, and she knew before she turned to him, and she did not think of . . . being alone. She rolled toward him and touched his face, and her love went out of her, into his cooling skin, and she wept for what it had done to him, crept up and taken him while he slept and dreamed. Maybe it came out of a dream and the dream became it. Wept, lying on her side, with her hand on his cheek, because he had been alone with it, surprised, maybe confused now as he wandered while the birds sang, seeing the birds, seeing her lying beside his flesh, touching his cheek, saying: “Oh hon—”
From At Night
As President Gross informed us all a short time ago, former Chair of the McCormick Division of Business, Sports Management Coordinator, Academic Liaison to Athletics, and beloved long-time Southern Vermont College professor, Bob Consalvo, passed last night. Although it is not summer and we are in the middle of a very difficult winter, made cruel now with this news about Bob, I imagine Bob’s passing to be like the poignant way the wife describes her husband’s death in the above passage from Dubus’s “At Night.”
Though he was alone when he passed, as we all must be when that moment arrives, Bob was so in the world and so outgoing and so aware of those around him that all of his students, colleagues, friends, and relatives must have felt that moment. In that way, we were all with him as he will always be with us at SVC.
There will be many others who knew Bob much longer than I did who can eulogize him appropriately. I am writing to relate to you how heavy my heart is at this news. In my two and a half years at SVC, no one has been more cooperative than Bob Consalvo. He helped me to understand his colleagues and friends in the faculty and staff; he helped the Boston sports fan in me to see that New York sports fans can be warm and humble and a delight to be with; he showed me the importance of possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, which he held in abundance and which allowed him to undertake new tasks, like the coordination of the Sports Management program, and new teaching modalities, like using the Moodle course management system. Truly, no one has been more willing than Bob Consalvo to undertake whatever task assigned to him for the betterment of his students and of Southern Vermont College.
I know that you are all shocked and saddened by Bob’s passing; truly his candle went out too quickly. But the light from Bob’s always cheerful visage and the fury of his often heard voice will shine and reverberate for us all as long as we study and work at SVC.
“Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest” (Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act V).