Your story reminds me of a friend from school who like many of us at that time was so much wanting to find ourselves (even if not consciously) while still not wanting to fit directly into the normal expectations etc.So despite my "athesist" leanings, I am nonetheless a spiritual person who believes that there may indeed be something out there after we die, something that we are not evolved enough to understand so must create dieties to convince us that we, as humans, are so special to the universe that our essence cannot possibly be lost after death.
He just could not accept the idea of one being of such ability or greatness.
Though this made for some seriously unbelievable discussion on a whole new level I found it sad that his analytical personality would not allow him to be free from what he could see or touch etc and he just could not accept what he could not prove out.
Over time life experiences allowed him to better understand the possibility of the unknown and switched from calling himself an atheist to an agnostic. I have not spoken with him for many years, but hope he was able to find balance, purpose and understanding in his life.
Oh and what caused me to make the connection in the first place was that he could not believe in a supreme being that would not respect or allow his love for his pets in any after life. I do not know if this ever changed for him, but it would be interesting to know.
Anyhow the point is that there is just too much real evidence both documented and in our hearts and souls that life is not a light switch that just gets turned off one day.