As I fell through the empty hole,
Breath stinking in my jaw,
Ring! Ring! Ring!
This is my homey from high school he getting’ by,
it’s time to bury another brother, nobody cry…
I couldn’t help but have this run through my head the last few days, this and a great many, many other things of a similar nature.
It’s never easy, it’s arguably one of the hardest things we have to do in life – when it happens we don’t expect it (even when we see it coming), we still keep our phones close in case they call, we still check our messages, still imagine what they’d say at random moments and feel like they are right there with us in that moment.
But they’re not. And though their spirit or essence may well be around and watch over us, we cannot help but feel the loss and heartache that comes with losing someone dear. Ever more so when that person is someone younger, more jovial and full of life than our own cynical, jaded selves.
When I got the call mere days past that my friend had passed, I was stunned, almost literally. For a moment I stumbled and my mind ceased to function for a moment and I had to stop and force myself to process the words I’d just heard.
Eventually we shake ourselves out of these shocks because the reality of life and social customs and such inevitably need to be faced and dealt with – and in their own way I suppose these things serve their own purpose because regardless of what your faith or belief, the ritual, the time taken, all of it serves to occupy our minds during that first jolt. We need that. Otherwise we would be likely to break down and lose ourselves in that moment of mad grief.
But that makes it no easier when your mind works in the background regardless. This time too, whatever else my life was filled with, I couldn’t help but find my mind wandering around and awash with a million thoughts.
He was a few years younger than me, a mere child in his mid-20’s with a whole world ahead of him to explore.
He was an artist with an imagination and zeal that had barely been tapped.
He remains one of the most jovial and good-hearted people I had ever had the privilege of meeting in this lifetime.
He was loyal, trustworthy and ever-helpful.
He showed me more about guts and having heart than anyone I know as he faced an illness and experience that might have broken most people.
He never let anything get the better of him and was more a “Man” than 90% of the people and ideas that try claim to be or know what that really means.
He is my friend…
…and I miss him terribly already.
It’s true what I read once, that the loss of a friend is akin to the loss a limb because like a phantom limb, we will never quite stop feeling them with us.
His name was Arjan Vir Singh.
Arjan was not my friend at first.
He was the goofy little cousin of my closest friend, someone that as a child myself, I was “too old to play with”, and so for several years we were acquaintances at best.
But then somewhere around the end of high school and before college, we met again independent of prior connections and a new friendship was forged.
Like me, he was different from most. He however was special. There was an ease and a geniality to him that made him undeniably liked by most everyone.
Through him I’ve met many wonderful folks, people who counted him as a friend as well, people I likely would not have met otherwise and today am grateful to know.
We shared a love for fiction, movies, music, comics, games and any number of nerdy pastimes and took great joy in sitting for hours and plotting out stories that we would love to be able to write – if only we had an opportunity.
Eventually that chance did come. And we took it. Together we worked on a single short story and he helped produce one of my first published works because he was a whiz at things on the computer that were a mystery to me then. Mysteries that since then he did help me understand somewhat better.
But before our great collaborative magnum opus could become anything more than the twistedly, convoluted mass of amazing ideas that he had brought to the table, his illness was discovered and all else had to wait.
We spoke and kept in touch as best we could during all his treatments and the like. Often for long periods he was not meant to see too many visitors due to a weakened immune system, but thanks to modern tech, we still exchanged laughs and talked about things just like we had before – as though nothing had changed.
What still amazes me is that no matter what happened and at no given time did anyone of us not with him always, know how good or bad it really was – no matter what, he always kept a positive face and was never brought low by what he was going through.
Right up until the end, he showed what I would like to think of as a true warriors heart. He held strong, he kept his spirit and those of the people around him as raised as possible. He had a peace to him that bordered on something other than human and seemed so at peace with whatever was to come that it is astounding.
He was for me and many others, not just a friend, he was our brother, he was a teacher and a bringer of calm and camaraderie.
I cannot even imagine what it is his parents must be going through, nor his younger brother. My heart breaks and aches to think of what they must feel.
No parent should ever have to outlive their child.
The world needs more people like him and is far, far poorer for his loss – a slightly less happy place now that he is not in it.
But that said, if there is anything he has taught me, it’s to reaffirm the belief that life is too precious and short to waste it. I will mourn my friend, I will remember my brother and I will do my best to honour his memory.
I hope one day to take the foundation he had laid before me and build a story to let loose in the world so that at least that one vision of his that I have gets a chance to shine – but that is for another day.
Today I will grieve and feel the loss… and then someday soon I will move past it and keep going, because life goes on. Never will I forget my brother, but I will live by his example and not let something terrible destroy that for which life is worth living.
Whatever it was he went through, for whatever twist of fate or caprice of chance that he of all people was stricken down – I don’t care. It was what it was and as angry as it might make me, I cannot change it, no matter how hard I might wish it to be so… I am thankful at least that with it over, you are now at peace and whatever after-life one might believe in, I believe without a shadow of a doubt that being the kind of person he was, he is in the best place possible now – never was a purer hearted and better person in my life.
We will meet again and enjoy long conversations and our special brand of inanity over a poker table (all of which I will miss terribly until that time), we will, but not yet.
Rest in peace my friend, you are always in our hearts and as long as the heart remembers, you will endure.