July 12, 1973 – July 01, 2012
In writing, every good story contains a tragedy somewhere in it. My story is no different.
While growing up in Prince Rupert, Parminder was my best friend. When I left Rupert in 1988, I kept in touch with Parm for a while, but as with time and distance, we grew apart. There’s times throughout the years I would wonder how he was doing and where he was, as I often do with people from my past (some I’d hope to hear of messy ends, but I digress). A couple years ago, I get a Facebook message from Parm asking “Is this the Jason that used to live in Prince Rupert?”.
I couldn’t believe it! He found ME!
We chatted online a few times and gave each other the Cliff Notes version of our lives over the years. We talked about meeting up – whenever one of us was in the other’s area of the province – and sitting down over some beers and catching up. Before going to India, he insisted in calling and talking, even if it was just for a few minutes. It was good to hear his voice again after all those years. Still sounded like him, just with more maturity in the voice. We joked around. “You haven’t changed a bit!” he said, when in fact I had. I was not the same person he knew, and I couldn’t wait to show him that. He was supposed to be passing through my area and we talked about meeting. I never got the call. Next time I’m in the Lower |Mainland, I thought. We had gone down through Vancouver a few times but they were whirlwind trips. Next time, I thought.
There’s always next time.
On July 2nd in 2012, I read a Facebook post he was tagged in that filled me with shock, sadness, and regret. One of his brothers had posted “R.I.P Bro!!! Will love and miss u forever!!!“. I kept wishing that this was a bad inside joke I wasn’t privy to. I waited to see if the punchline would come. The only thing that came was an outpouring of condolences from friends and family.
Now, next time would never come.
I was informed by a family member that Parm had a heart attack while his wife and daughter were out. His daughter found him when they came home a couple hours later. Here I was severely overweight and feeling generally like crap. I pictured myself in the same situation and envisioned my son finding me as Parm’s daughter found him. At that time I was just over 2 1/2 months away from my 40th birthday, and Parm was less than 2 weeks away from his 39th. A chill went up my spine. I forgot he was younger than me!
I had been sitting on my ass for a few years feeling sorry for myself and generally feeling awful. I had mulled about doing something to improve my health, but it never went past that. Pure laziness on my part. I had no real “kicker” to get me off of the couch and start looking after myself. I had nothing, until now. This finally scared me, and with an upcoming doctor’s appointment, this would be the start of my journey. Today is the one-year anniversary since I learned of his passing. During this time I’ve lost almost 35 pounds and looking to lose another 35 or more afterwards. I’ve learned to get out and enjoy the outdoors again and hold family time precious.
They say everything happens for a reason, and some believe that spirits – in human form – come into our lives to guide our course and experiences here on earth. Parm’s cousin told me that during the last year of his life, he went out of his way to make sure he got in contact with people from his past. In a way, its like some part of him knew. I often wonder if Parm’s death was his spirit’s sacrifice of time on this world so I can learn from it and continue mine, perhaps to be an example to others as opposed to a lesson. I’ll never know that truth while bring part of this world, but if this is true, thank you Parminder for making such a sacrifice.
Enjoy the day and the opportunities it brings. One day, there will be no more ‘next time’.