Seeing a close friend’s face on a picture with RIP written on it is never a welcoming sight. A few days ago, I learned about the death of a good friend and fellow Young Leader in Diabetes, Reghunath from type 1 diabetes. The world around me fell deafening silent as I coped with the news.
I met Reghunath in Melbourne last year through the Young Leader in Diabetes programme training. He was from India and for a small guy, he made up for it with his passion and boundless energy. Not only that, he surprised us all during our social night at the boathouse with his insane dance moves. He was larger than life.
We spoke about his life in India and the diabetes care processes there. I was absolutely blown away and inspired that at the tender age of 30, he was the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Editor for two companies. He was a man of big dreams, which he always worked towards slowly but surely.
Our conversation carried on after we returned home. We spoke regularly on Skype and Facebook as I know he does with many of the other Young Leaders. Some days it would be a quick ‘hey, how are you going’ and other times we would talk about our project plans and brainstorm ideas. Each time we signed off though, he would always tell me to keep smiling and laughing because the world needs it. Over the short time we knew each other, he’s probably told me to stop stressing and enjoy life more times than I can count.
The reality of the situation didn’t quite hit me until all the Young Leaders banded together to try and find out what happened. I wrote a little goodbye tribute on his Facebook page, with a weird feeling that he would never read it or tell me to keep smiling or laughing again. Tributes started flowing from his friends and all the Young Leaders and I realised just how connected he was with everyone. We were all shocked that this had happened and expressed our disbelief as we had only just spoken to him days ago. A few of us had future meetings set with him to discuss his project.
This is the first time I’ve had to deal with such a situation and it felt like having a bucket of cold water thrown over you in the middle of winter. It reminded me that life is so precious and fragile and the old saying of life your life to the fullest, like it’s your last resonated with me. Reghunath was a prime role model for doing just that. He lived life to the fullest and had no regrets.
To honour his memory, the Young Leaders held a moment of silence at Brussels local time of 3pm CET during his funeral. To his family and close friends, may my deepest condolences and strength be with you during this time. Thank you to all the Young Leaders who banded together to support each other during this sad time. We shared our favourite memories, laughed and cried together. Thank you to those who are working hard to make his project become a reality, for I’m sure it is what he would have wanted to go ahead. Let’s make him proud.