In high school, Ricky Julliard, the only bona fide genius of our class, sat me down one day and taught me the theory of relativity, or at least what I could understand of it. What stuck with me was how he described energy—that energy couldn't be destroyed: once released, it moves on in different guises. We were talking about nuclear fusion, not death, but I've thought of Ricky often whenever I ponder where the essence of a person goes after he or she dies. For instance, my mother, where did her sweet nature go? For a non-believer, I find myself bypassing the more reverent explanations, say, God and heaven and all that rigmarole in which I find myself unsure. I'd like to think that Ricky was right, that energy moves on and informs us in different ways, and thus, a life that might have been cut short is still alive, in one form or another.
When Keith Rohman talked at his son Jack's memorial service, of how he had believed with all his heart that Jack would do something to change the world, and now that will not be, I wanted to cry out: but wait, he will, he has, he already has. I believe that; even though I didn't know Jack in recent years, from what Maya and her friends—amazing, cosmic kids up here on Mt. Washington and beyond—say, Jack's wit and humor, his intelligence and kindness, have changed their lives forever.
Keith appealed to all of Jack's friends to honor him: "Cherish your lives, cherish your friends, cherish your families," he told the young people gathered there, "Do not think there was anything you could have done." His call reached hundreds of those at the memorial who loved Jack and will continue to ring out among us here.
Sam says yes to friends.