Last week I poured the cremated remains of my father into a river. From there, that material will flow through the town he lived in, into the sea, and mix with the world ocean. The atoms that make up that matter began in the heart of a star, for a short time they were part of my father, next they will be sand, in time some may be taken up by plants and algae, some may go on to become part of some other creatures, some may be locked into rock.
In relatively few years, on the scale of history, the last living memories of my father will be lost as his grandchildren age and die. He won't be known for anything, his name won't live on in story or legend. However, his thoughts, his influence and his personality have flowed on into me and all others who knew him, and will be distributed, diluted to an undetectable, infinitesimal degree, for the indefinite future through humanity, for as long as that lasts.
It's not even a simulacrum of a mythical everlasting life; he's dead, his life has ended and conciousness ceased, there isn't a soul to live on. However, as the physical remains will distribute through the world, so will traces of who he was, even if nobody will ever know or be able to tell.
Bill Mobbs 1944-2015