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.