May 18, 2011

Message from Shannon and Jonathan

How to decide which memory of Raj is the most special? More than a year later, we still can't pick just one. It is all the memories. So, this is more about who he was; what we remember him to be. 

We think of him every day. The ability to become hugely successful but never let it get in the way of friendliness and warmth is a rare trait. How many people can honestly tell you they love you, even before really getting to know you? That's usually an animal thing, not a human thing. It's no surprise how well Raj connected with animals. He loved them, and they loved him. He is probably keeping company with our beloved departed cats and dogs

To be loved and trusted is the fundamental basis of any lasting interpersonal relationship. We miss that about Raj! Obviously others do, too. A friend of his remembered that Raj was always there for him when life was terrible and also when it was great. That's very true. It's easy to think someone's your friend when the going is good, but who to talk to when your world is coming down and you most need love? It's no surprise how much he is missed. 

Raj spoke our language, and it's an uncommon one. The language of limitless success. Whatever you are, turn up the volume. If you're great, be great. Really own it! And take a picture! In giving back to the world, include yourself in that. If you want something, have it. If you want to go somewhere, go. Be yourself. It's okay to be brilliant, accomplished, good-looking, AND loving. Those traits are not mutually exclusive. Humans tend to stifle and edit pieces of themselves to please others and appear societally acceptable, thus losing the essence that makes them special. There can be no good without the bad. In trying to delete that which we think is bad, we lose who we are. Raj knew who we were and loved us anyway, and we, him. He even considered our problems to be "high-quality".

We met Raj during the darkest time of our business and personal lives. It was a turning point, and he was a key component. He was the most non-judgmental, friendly, and positive person we knew. Much like it happens with cats and dogs, there was no transitional stage wherein it's determined whether you're friends or not. You just are. It's extremely refreshing to meet someone who instantly knows your value, without having to be convinced. 

Sometimes the world can be a really cold and unfriendly place. Sometimes those that seem like the closest friends, or most reliable business associates, really aren't. Sometimes it's confusing to know what to do, who to turn to, or with whom it's always okay to be ourselves -- even when sad, feeling misunderstood, and dejected. Sometimes we really want to share our joy (over things that won't be understood by those who don't get it) and elation and hear the ecstatic response borne of a friendship based on real love and understanding -- and vice versa. And it's during those times that we miss Raj most of all. 

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