A rare moment of personal sharing…to celebrate...to share.


Some people believe when there is physical death, the deceased spirit journeys through the physical world recounting its life; resolving what his or her life meant, and observing the aftermath as others deal with that person’s transition from one dimension to another one. Some people say that exploration requires a few months, others accept that this passage takes a year. 

My brother, Leonard, was cremated on October 13, 2015 after he lost his life in a tragic car accident on a darkened Florida roadway in mid-September of last year. After his year of exploration during which his cremains rested in a parlor room of our Auburn, NY home, as promised, Lisa and I laid him to final rest in a submersible urn on October 13, 2016. He was rested in an area of downtown Orlando, Florida where he spent time; trusted the people; enjoyed the environs of a park and lake, and where he celebrated the magnificence of life and his involvement in the complexities of humanity. On that afternoon...


Embracing his penchants for certain simple things, at 4 PM, we had Coronas at the Cantina on Wall Street, followed by rum and cokes at Waitiki.


Awhile earlier, around 3:30, we started his “Remembrance Celebration” with reflections about the past year (when we traveled to Orlando in 2015 to handle Leonard's affairs) at “the alligators and the fountain directly in front of the Orange County Regional History Center.”

After our round of libations at Waitiki, Lisa and I did a “Remembrance Walk” to Lake Eola Park; boarded paddle boats, and said our goodbyes as a double rainbow mysteriously appeared at the precise moment of his release near the Allen Memorial Fountain. 


Leonard loved cherry coke (when he stopped using alcohol) and chocolate cake. We had both that evening. 
 He loved chicken wings. We made sure we enjoyed that appetizer as we celebrated him for at least the next 24-48 hours while in Orlando.

With a life span from 1954 to 2015, Leonard was quietly laid to rest with actionable love and caring. And as his spirit was re-set free, I reflected on and recognized that other people were going through the normal activities of their lives...running, walking dogs, socializing, meditating, projecting heartfelt wishes while some other folks were going through life oblivious to, and not understanding that a giving presence, interaction, and personal commitment provides enriching evidence that then fully emboldens, strengthens, and expands just thoughts to a higher and more profound level of love.

After returning home, Lisa and I started to put into perspective the past twelve months.

Leonard was known to repeatedly turn off and on lights where he lived in a group home in Orlando. While his remains were in our home, Lisa and I eventually accepted the multiplicity of times when a lamp was on when we went to bed, and that same lamp was off in the morning. When that started I thought it was due to a possible night time power failure. But moving the light switch from on to off indicates something else. Eventually, we started to laugh at those occurrences and just said, “That’s Leonard.” My brother enjoyed joking; fooling around, and scaring people, but never in a malicious manner.

For our part, Leonard’s journey with us created new relationships.

We thank John and Stephanie Romano and Ashley Owen of Winter Oak Funeral Home who handled Leonard in 2015 and 2016…we appreciate you, and know that each of you will continue to share a piece of our hearts. Your caring was manifested in your support, understanding, and professionalism.

We appreciated having lunch with Valencia College professor, writer, and aaduna contributor, Tamara Madison and her husband and one of her sons where they heard about our story more completely then what Tamara heard when we visited with her on campus last year.

Ms. Miles…Lulu…part of our family…you helped make possible Leonard’s final resting through your gift of love and caring. And as you know, your spirit was felt through telephone lines as he was let go. The angels knew what they were doing at Washington, DC’s The Golden Temple restaurant back in the Seventies.

Simon and Loren, your wishes, love, and support buoyed our spirits as we let Leonard go. You continue to be family through joyous and challenging times. With Simon being my brother, I am blessed.

So, in closing, all that is left to say, is that a year ago, I retrieved from Winter Oak the clothes Leonard wore when he was killed. While his tee-shirt and hat were bloodied, those items were washed in Orlando and then again, when I returned to Auburn with his ashes. I promised his spirit that he would be laid to rest with me wearing his tee and hat. I did that for my brother while always transporting “him” in a blue (Leonard's favorite color) canvas travel bag that he purchased from a local Orlando department store a few days before he died because, as he told those who knew him, he was going on a trip. He never shared where he was going.

Moving on...

His tee exclaimed, “taking life with a grain of salt…FLORIDA” The visual adjacent to these words was an iced Margherita with a lime wedge and one of those paper cocktail umbrellas.

To say the least…

My life was enriched by Leonard’s presence and his willingness to open all facets of his existence to me. He made me a better person.

Since returning home from Florida, I continue to be drawn to a handwritten note from our son, Sean, (that is now on our refrigerator) that he wrote and left for us before returning to Hawaii where he lives and works:

Light is patient,
gradual, gentle,
shining, generous,

To give is to


  1. Beautiful bill, thank you so much for sharing....the rainbow really struck my mom and I

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this when you could have kept it lovingly to yourself (both at lunch and in this blog).
    Thank you so much for creating a moment for others to learn, grieve, and celebrate life and miracles.
    Thank you for being you and doing all that you do, my friend.
    Love and blessings always,

    1. May you and the family continue to be engulfed in a blanket of ongoing love and blessings from the angels.

  3. Your writing. ...your presence. ...your being....continue to be a blessing!

  4. Lovely, bill. And so timely with día de los muertos yesterday, which also was 20th anniversary of my father's death and day of memorial for a dear friend's father. The veil of life and death among us always if we are awake to it.

    1. We share memories as individuals and then collectively as a community when our love ones pass to the next level of existence. Thank you for your words.

  5. Thinking about our many conversations so long ago when
    Leonard lived in the Bronx at 1494. Your memorial and mindful rituals are indeed fitting for such a gentle soul.
    I know his spirit is free ... All praises are due to the Creator.
    Much Love,

  6. Thank you. You reminded me that Leonard lived at 1494, a situation that had slipped my mind. I know he is at rest and experiencing a joy that is reserved for those folks who enter the next level of existence.


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