Cousin Robert Naraine (1958–2018)

Anthony, Robert, Sewo, Lake, Peter, Andrew, Greg & Dave

August 15, 2018

Dearest Solomon,

The sun had a couple more hours before it would rise, but I was awoken by a call I had been sadly awaiting. Your Uncle Robert passed away this morning at 3:39 A.M. Sometimes, knowing something is gonna happen feels like you know nothing.

Robert would have turned 60 in just 10 days. We had planned out our trip this year to arrive next Saturday for his birthday party. Last time I saw him, I promised him we would all be there and he promised the same. He was a fighter. I believed him.

With 17 years between us, I can’t say I grew up with Robert, but I certainly know things. I know Roseanne “Mooch” was his highschool sweetheart and our resident Italian. I know he shared a love of cars and real estate like your grandpa. I know he loved sports and had a pool table one size too big for his basement (another grandpa thing).

“Mooch”, Robert, Anthony, and Tiffany

Most of all, though, i’ll always remember Robert through his kids, Tiffany and Anthony. They loved him, but maybe, just maybe, not as much as he loved them. A good fight to lose, in my opinion.

One of the earliest memories I have was of Tiffany as a baby, in a frilly white dress at the house. She used to be practically attached to her dad at the hip. She was just a cute kid to me then, but now, with the eyes of a dad, I can say it was just something magical. By the time Anthony was born, I think I was a teenager and my family time gave way to the normal nonsense. Anthony reminds me a lot of his dad, they both do, but seeing him step into the family business and carry on the tradition, too, makes me smile; I couldn’t run far enough away from what my dad did.

I made a few trips back to see Robert once I knew he wasn’t well. I saw him just a few weeks ago. We spent time at the house. He was surrounded by friends, family, love, and concern. He slept a lot, but when he was awake he was alert and thoughtful. He stared up at the ceiling a lot, telling us he was ready to go “up there”. I’m glad his suffering is over. I’m just glad I got to see him one last time.

This has been a long journey for him and his family. We’ve been through the long goodbye before and it never gets any easier. I hope you’ll never have to experience it.

I think about Tiffany and Anthony now. I remember how robbed I felt when my dad passed. I don’t feel that for them. I know they loved their father. I know he loved them back. I know they had the chance to say that often. And I know they had the chance to say goodbye, in their own way.

They will always have that. I know he left them that one last gift. I’m envious and happy all at the same time.

Sita Ram, Robert.

It feels like just recently, I was reflecting on life, myself. I’d like to believe that a life well-lived can be measured by how long it lives on in the hearts and minds of others.

When we start off, life is full of potential and everything is possible. When the end comes, though, things look so different. If we’re lucky, we have time at the end to reflect back on how much of that promise we achieved.

Don’t wait to be lucky, son.

Love always,