This afternoon in the suburb of Folsom, family and friends gathered at a beautiful winery to celebrate the life of our dear friend Raj. For those of us who are not local, a live stream of the event was provided on YouTube, so Chris and I tuned in to participate from home. As we can imagine would have been what Raj wanted, this was no somber affair; the food and wine overfloweth, and the family requested guests to not wear funeral attire and instead to wear business casual.
One after another, we heard friends and family members of Raj talk about memories they had with him. All of them were relatable, and none were surprising given the big heart that Raj had. Some were actually pretty funny (I had no idea he converted Maria’s parents into wine lovers. These are people who barely even knew what wine was before!). Even his manager and the head of his team came to share thoughts and memories of their colleague and friend, a side that we never got to see of Raj since we never worked professionally with him.
The tear jerker moment for me was seeing his dad speak. Given the timing, it was unlikely he got to see Raj this year before his son’s untimely death given he was stuck in Nepal, and it just broke my heart to see how strong he was being. Raj was so close to his parents; he frequently called his dad his best friend. And regardless of being in a totally different time zone, he called his dad every single day, even if it was just to talk for five minutes. He was an open book to his dad. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and anguish his parents must have felt upon learning their eldest son had suddenly passed. It must have felt like death for themselves.