January 18th was my cousin Bobby's birthday. He died in 2004, when he was 19. He was playing tennis, apparently in perfect health, and he suddenly had a heart attack and died. The whole family was devastated, especially his mother and sister. It's only recently that they've gotten back to (relatively) normal.
When I say "cousin", some people think of a relative they see only once a year at a family reunion or something. Not the case in my family. My relationship with my cousins was something between siblings and best friends.
His mother gave fragments of his ashes to all his friends, with instructions to scatter them in interesting places that we travel to. Bobby said that the one thing he would always enjoy, even if all other pleasures became boring, was travel. Apparently one of his friends brought some of his ashes to Mt. Everest. Damn, that's gonna be hard to beat. I'll be looking for interesting places to sprinkle some. Maybe off the Golden Gate Bridge, since I'm going to SF tomorrow. (Note to self: Make sure to be on the downwind side of the bridge. Don't want to pull a Big Lebowski.)
Tonight I'm going to go sing karaoke with Cat and Jeremy and Sushu. I'll look for some of Bobby's favorite songs to do (XTC, Beatles, They Might Be Giants... I know he was really into metal his last couple of years too...). Pour a bottle of something-or-other on the ground like they do for dead bikers. Tell my friends stories about him. The dead have passed into the realm of myth; myths must be told and retold. It keeps the Dust circulating.