Personally I believe there is a Heaven, or Other Side, as many call it. Our loved ones move on in spirit, and CAN send communications (After Death Communications) to us and all their loved ones. Some loved ones become amazingly adept and prompt in sending messages to us, that match what we are currently doing and are involved in.
This website has some "buttons" on the left that you can click and learn a lot of information about life after death, and of course, Bill Guggenheim has written his book called "Hello from Heaven!" which can be bought online, borrowed from a library, or found in a local bookstore. Loaded with all kinds of information!
Life is a journey, and we locate our answers in many books, on the Internet, and often on this Message Board! :)
I believe your friend is alive and well on the Other Side, and that you will see him again someday. I think he is learning there right now, and will have jobs and responsibilities in the course of time.
Some folks have been told by their loved ones that they help other passed folks cross over. I believe some folks take care of other folks in various ways. People who have temporarily died have often seen children on the Other Side being cared for by adults there.
I don't think people just "float on clouds" and sing praises in Heaven. I think they are busy with fulfilling jobs and assignments!