1933604_774098892733890_4368455666911963627_o.jpgI didn’t know Edi Cruz as well as I might have liked, but what I do know is that he was a KIPPster and I was a Big KIPPster and that makes us family. I recall seeing Edi in the hallways at KIPP Houston High School and what I noted about him was his always pleasant demeanor. His smile was of the legendary sort, and just spotting him made me beam inside. I wish I’d taken more time to get to know Edi better because from what I can gather he was greatly loved for being a truly genuine and caring person. Edi was slated to graduate in a few months from The University of Texas Permian Basin, but his dreams and those of all who knew him were tragically cut short when he was recently killed in a terrible car accident. All too soon a wonderful young person has left us all wondering why such horrific things happen to such good people.

Edi Cruz was known around the school for his unending sense of humor. He approached life with a joke and a feeling that every day was a good time for a laugh. He made people feel good about him and about themselves, and now they are left to consider all of the ”might have beens” for their good friend. Edi was not just about being hilariously funny, but also quite serious about earning a college degree, and he had worked hard for so many years to achieve his goal. It is a testament to his dedication that his plans were so soon to have come to fruition. No one could have known that his life would be so suddenly snuffed out. Even his college roommate is still stunned.

Edi Cruz was a very good friend. He gave fully of himself to others and his loving nature was always reflected in his face. After his death those who knew him spoke of his considerate nature and revealed things that he had done for them so unselfishly. He was someone who would take the time to thank a teacher with a sincerely written note, or stop to help a classmate who was struggling with some issue. He didn’t mind being a bit silly if it reduced tensions, or just made everyone enjoy the moment. He embraced life with an open heart that lead him to a loving relationship with a beautiful young woman who had hopes of her own for their future together. Everyone believed that they were going have had a wonderful time.

Edi had so many talents and interests. He liked to ride horses and looked as natural in the saddle as walking down the street. He was a people person who once served as a representative at a National Council of La Raza conference. He was a favorite of his high school art teacher who saved a caricature that he had created of himself long after he had left her class. The drawing captured his wonderful essence. It was as though he really knew and understood himself and felt confident in being a person who spread sunshine with his mere presence by his willingness to be humble and self deprecating.

Edi Cruz.jpgThere is a great feeling of sadness in losing someone of his moral stature, particularly at such a young age. In our humanity we can’t quite comprehend why such a terrible thing would happen, even as we console ourselves in knowing that he had lived a glorious life while he was here. Somehow thinking about Edi Cruz reminded me of a poem by an unknown author that I once read.

Do not judge a biography by it’s length,
Nor by the number of pages in it.
Judge it by the richness of it’s contents

Sometimes those unfinished are among the most poignant

Do not judge a song by it’s duration
Nor by the number of it’s notes
Judge it by the way it touches and lifts the soul

Sometimes those unfinished are among the most beautiful

And when something has enriched your life
And when it’s melody lingers on in your heart
Is it unfinished?
Or is it endless?

I am quite certain the Edi Cruz touched hearts so fully that he will live on in the cherished memories that friends and family have of him. For now they will grieve as they remember the good times that they had with him and think of the future that is no more, but one day their hearts will be healed and remebering Edi will make them smile again. 

I cannot think of anything more heartbreaking than the death of someone so young. Thoughts of what we might have shared never quite leave us. That person is permanently fixed in our minds as a never aging soul as we ourselves grow old. I can tell you from experience that everyone who knew and loved Edi Cruz will remember him from time to time even as the years go by. The impact of a person as wonderful as he was is in truth endless.