A friend’s Wake

Two weeks ago, I attended the wake of my friend and fellow board member, Al. Seeing his casket and the solemn quiet in the chapel, I wondered at the meaning of life and all its trappings. The occasion was somber and the family was grieving. They received all his friends in a separate room, where everyone offered their condolences. After a while, everyone moved to the main chapel and the celebration of Al’s life was given. I learned more about Al and his life, family, and businesses in that hour that I did while interacting with him over the years. He had a full life and being close to 90 years old and quite active, he had worked and kept busy until the very end. His example is one of how I want to spend my later years, busy at ensuring that everyone who knows me is also touched by me in some way. A celebration of life is always a spiritual experience for me. Seeing my friend dead, whom I have known alive stirs in me awe that never fails to raise the question of what it means to be human. In a prayer made next to my friend’s body, I reflected on the last time we had seen one another. On that occasion, we were about to join a board meeting for a non-profit we both belong to and quite ready to argue fine points of law. You see he was a tax lawyer and I’m a businessman. We all make a mark in the world by the time we leave it and Al made a deep imprint judging by how many people attended his wake and how many things he did in his lifetime. He leaves a large family that will continue his legacy through the generations. I have never been able to believe that human existence ends with death. I believe in an afterlife. There is something wonderful waiting for us on the other side. Be it heaven, reincarnation, or just part of the earth, it is just another part of our never-ending journey.

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