There is life after death.

A bright, generous, funny and downright loveable man shuffled off his mortal coil at 8:42 p.m. on the twenty-second of September of this year. The privilege of his company for at least three or four hours a day, every day (but for about four) was mine for the last four months and some-odd days of his life. Would that I'd spent that many days with him in the fifteen years preceding onset of the sinister slippery slope of sickness that would eventually cause his passing.

Moments the quality of which are near peak-experiences (or at the very least life-milestones): the first taste of good Scotch, first sip of very old Bordeaux, first marijuana high, first seemingly magnificent sense of awareness on LSD , and the like; are for me still vivid and delightful. But those moments were all firsts at things that one must acquire a taste for. That those moments were "firsts" admits that the seconds, thirds, fiftieths could eventually become boring (and were indeed harmful).

The most recent moments spent alone with him were immediately rewarding and left a lovely lingering lightheadedness that no supple, smooth spirit nor exotic mind-altering substance could match. To think that listening to the story of biscuits baked in a steamy tropical military outpost in 1946 could be a peak-experience. Of course, the mechanics of biscuit-baking when told are not the stuff of magnificent memories. The telling of the sheer glee experienced by he who ate the biscuits, and shared the biscuits generously and selflessly with his comrades; now that's the stuff I remember now and hope and pray I'll remember as long as I live.

Whether it was he, or God, or the stars who decided, I don't care. He was to breathe his last breath as I held his hand that evening in September. He'd spoken many times of the peak-experience of holding me as a child for the first time. Now, I held him in my arms for what I knew would be the last time. The circle had come around. Was it inappropriate that mixed with immediate feelings of grief were feelings of joy; joy that I'd had the privilege to be there; joy that his struggle had ended? How awesome the responsibility that came to rest upon my shoulders at that moment; to remember him, not as I'd remember him but as he had intimated that he'd like to be remembered.

No morbid dwelling on childhood's growing pains, no tear-blurred gazes at old photographs, no selfish weeping over the agony of absence permanent. What my life after his death is like is a celebration of the part of him that is in me. Moving forward through this strange adventure, more conscious of him than I ever was when he was alive, is serene and colorful. No, no, no; no dark, gloomy nor hopeless place for me. Speak his wisdom, a voice inside me says. Live his dreams. Reiterate his advice and the wisdom of his sage, old soul to all who'll listen. Embrace his humility. Emulate, at every chance, his generosity. To do those things will be a much more significant way to honor his memory than to speak flowery, praise-filled eulogies; engrave plaques; or even carve his name in a slab of granite and raise it up in some important place.

Yes, indeed, there is life after death.