Raj’s untimely passing reminded me of Ed’s passing. In my adult life, they are the two people I’ve lost that I have genuinely cared deeply for. They both lived such different lives, yet passed away at similar ages. Ed passed away just a few weeks shy of his 34th birthday. Raj was only 36 (I think?). Raj had traveled the world and truly lived life to its fullest. Ed had never left the country and was just asking me months before he passed about the passport application process. Raj had friends pretty much everywhere and was a true extrovert. My brother was socially awkward just like our dad and had no real friends… just like our dad. Raj had a loving and close relationship with both his parents, to the point where he even called his dad his “best friend.” My brother had a tumultuous relationship with our parents, always with endless conditions, lots of judgments, and our dad barely acknowledged him until after he died.
When I look back at Raj’s life, or at least, what I know of it, he truly did “live life to its fullest “as trite as that sounds. He made the most of every single day. He did as much as he could wherever he was. He hated wasting a moment and was always just so damn positive. When I reflect back on Ed’s life, something held him back quite a bit. Part of it, I’m sure, was the fear my mom instilled in him of the world, always believing something bad was going to happen when you turn the next corner. The other part of it was that he just didn’t have the parental love and support system he needed to be secure in himself to go out and explore the world and really be independent in the way that Raj was. Ed had a lot of potential that just never got seen or recognized. Raj had all the potential that was seen, recognized, and appreciated. And then life had a different plan for him than to continue on with us. Their deaths were a tragedy, but more, as sad as it is, will look at Raj’s life and truly feel it was tragic, whereas with Ed, he has likely already been forgotten by most people who knew him. The world is a cruel place, during life, and even in life after death.
I wonder… if there truly is an after life, a heaven, will Raj meet Ed? Will they have a conversation? Will they have some sort of connection because of me? One day, when it’s my time, will they open up the gates for me?