When we found out our friend Raj passed away due to seizures of a still-unknown cause, we were beyond shocked. I felt sick to my stomach for more than a day, especially knowing that his son had just been born a couple weeks ago, and his wife was still recovering from childbirth and breastfeeding. To this day, Raj is one of the most kind-hearted, gentle, warm, gregarious humans I have ever known. If there is one person who seemed to always, always assume the very best intentions of anyone, it would definitely have been him. Two years after death, his wife is still struggling to fully accept he is gone, but his spirit still lives on through her and their son, now over two years old.
Raj’s death was also shocking and scary to me because when we found out he had died in 2021, it was shortly after I found out I was pregnant. At that time, I was pregnant with twins. That week, one of the twins “vanished” (vanishing twin syndrome), and I went through my own downward spiral that was separate from Raj’s death. I thought about how Raj and his wife had brought this tiny human into the world, thinking they’d raise him and any future children together, but instead, so soon after their baby was born, the baby’s dad died, and mom would be left alone without a life partner to help. Raj would never be able to experience the joy of watching his son grow up. And I thought about how absolutely devastating that was and how petrifying it would be for me if I were in the same situation.
I think about Raj all the time. But when I think of him, I still realize that in his short life, he probably lived a much fuller one than those double his age because of his positive outlook and all-around warmth and kindness. It would be hard to imagine anyone knowing him who did not like him or appreciate how good of a human he was. We could all benefit from trying to embody a little Raj in our own lives.