For the man who gave us a tremendous gift.

The father of my friend, Greta Christina, died on the first of this month.  Memories for the living is the closest to immortality anyone can ever get, and that includes the empty hopes of religion, which manifest themselves in time spent not living life for one’s self.

Greta has done her best, using the voice that has become a mastery of English and honest expression over the years, to share her father’s memory.  It’s touching, and all my best wishes go out to her.

This may be surprising to many believers… but atheist ways of dealing with death and grief are not actually dire, or hopeless, or without consolation. I’ve been surprised, in fact, at how comforting my humanism and my naturalism have been during my grief. And one of the many consolations in a humanist view of death is the idea that people who have died live on: not literally in a supernatural afterlife, but metaphorically, in the ways they’ve changed the world. The people are gone, but like the water in a pond when a rock is tossed in, the ripples continue to radiate out, even after the stone has sunk to the bottom. My dad is dead, he is gone finally and forever… but the world is different, and I am different, because he was alive.

The world is lucky to have Greta.  That alone is worth remembering her father.

  • TMiller

    Thank you for posting this. It’s the 10th anniversary of my mother’s passing this month and I still continue to encounter people who say how much she impacted their lives. She was a giant stone in that pond and the ripples are still radiating. This is way more consoling than any notion that we’ll meet again the afterlife.

  • http://iamdanmarshall.com Dan

    My condolences to Greta. I lost my fiancée unexpectedly last year, and it was the first real loss of my adult life. Like Greta Christina, I found that my outlook on life helped me deal with the grief in a realistic way, rather than consoling myself by believing in a fantasy afterlife where I’d be able to see her again. I miss her a lot. It does get easier, though, as time passes.