Raffi Hagopian, that wonderful human being with a heart as large as the world, is no longer with us. He left us last night, without any warning, without any last farewells. Like a candle that goes out in the wind. Like a leaf blown away by a gust. Or a song that is unfinished here. But they will listen to the rest of your song, Raffi, in the other world. All his life, he has been known as gentle, affectionate and guileless. Music was his life - and he never stopped dreaming about creating some lasting masterpiece on his beloved guitar. His heart is filled with love for all, and he has never learned to hate. Raffi was born on June 7, 1963, in the Old city of Jerusalem, to Hagop Hagopian and his lovely wife, Hoppig. He was only a toddler when his parents moved to Kuwait. I watched him crawl and grope his way into childhood, his inquisitive mind ever alert to his surroundings. His questions never ceased. He wanted to know everything about everything. Raffi particularly enjoyed the beach, playing with the sand joyfully, building endless ephemereal castles only to see them washed away with the tide. Like life. He was the first child to be born into the modern Hagopian clan and became the center of our world. But despite all the love and attention showered upon him, he never grew spoiled. He was a beautiful gift to two beautiful people - but it was a gift to be shared by all those around them. For the love that illuminated the soul of this gentle creature, spread far and wide. His love for music dominated his life - it was Raffi who introduced me to Demis Russos. "Forever and ever. . .," Raffi. How can one express the anguish and sorrow his untimely passing has caused? He was to be married in January... The HOW has been determined (a heart attack) but never the WHY. At times like this, the thought always returns to the unanswered question: "why, ya allah?" Why did he have to go away so soon? Why him? And the answer is always, "Your 'ya allah' is my 'I am here.'" He is always here, in and with us all, though we cannot understand Him or His ways. But we know that His love and compassion for us is unconditional. And we know that in His boundless mercy, He has secured a place in paradise for our Raffi. Rest in peace, beloved and cherished one.