Yesterday, I flew up to Las Vegas for Clark Adams' memorial service. Mel Lipman of HALVASON was the officiant--he said it was about the 50th such service he had done, but was the first for someone that he had been such a close friend to. He was followed by remarks from Clark's friends Rob and Raul, who shared personal memories of Clark and what he meant to them. Clark's mother was represented by a beautiful letter that closed with "THOUGHTfully yours, Clark's mom." There were photos and video of Clark. We laughed, we shed tears, we hugged. We shared memories of Clark and we made new friends. At dinner afterward, several people gave homage to Clark by ordering Diet Cokes with no ice (even though Matt said "I hate Diet Coke" and Brandon said "and I love ice!").
The emotional content was the same--a mix of joy for the positive contributions Clark made to all of our lives and sadness that he's gone. But I found it a better experience than the religious ceremonies in this regard, in that these are people like me, that I can genuinely connect with on a deeper and more honest way, despite the fact that I don't know many of them very well. We know that Clark is gone, and that our lives here are all we have, making every moment more precious.