A Friend’s Wake


Back in December of 2015, 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, extended family, and businesses in that hour than 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. I would like to follow on his footsteps and 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 being celebrated, whom I have known for many years, stirred in me the question of what it means to be human.

While I prayed 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 we were 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.

Al made a deep imprint in the world, judging by how many people attended his wake and how many things he accomplished during his lifetime. He leaves a large family that will continue his legacy through the generations. Al is now on his next journey and I’m sure that wherever he is, he’s smiling upon us and quite pleased at the deep imprint he made upon the world.

You see, I firmly believe that the soul does not end with death. I believe in an afterlife and that there is something wonderful waiting for us on the other side. The soul cannot be destroyed, death is just another part of our never-ending journey to God.

Al, may you be as accomplished in your next journey as you were in this one.

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