It has been a while since I last wrote. February was one hell of a month for us – two deaths in the family and a slew of medical and dental problems. My mind was elsewhere.
Kathy’s mom died on February 4 and my father on February 28. Kathy’s family is devout Catholics and my dad a secular Jew. Her service was a mass and viewing; his was a simple ceremony at the grave site a few days after his death. Both had me thinking on how I was to handle death of a family member or a friend over the coming years. After all, I will be 62 shortly and I am no longer talking about new births as I am illness and death.
It is wrong to believe that an atheist does not mourn the loss of a loved one. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god or gods, the supernatural or paranormal. As secular humanists, however, we do take death as seriously as anyone of faith, but without the heaven and hell, or visiting those who are long gone in an afterlife. We believe that when you die you die and that death is part of the cycle of life.
Robert Ingersoll states that we do not know if death is the simply the end of this life or the opening of a door to another. With this I disagree for there is no evidence of another life after this, unless you count the reintroduction of one’s ashes to the soil or, as in my mother’s case (she was cremated), to a body of water.
Dad died as one should, comfortable in his own bed with family surrounding him. I was not there but was able to visit in December and those are the memories I wish to keep. I did not make the funeral but plan to go back on Memorial Day. The American Air Power Museum will have a dedication for my dad, a highly decorated WWII fighter pilot, with an exhibit and a “Missing Man” fly-by during their annual air show. For dad, an avid pilot for more than 60-years, it is fitting and proper.
Dad asked that I write his obituary, which he read and approved. He needed to maintain control to the end. But writing the obit was my way of saying goodbye to him. I am saddened for the loss, but happy that he died with honor and family.
I am taking a few days off of work as a bereavement time, to allow me to catch up on things that have been missing for the last 30 days of so. I should be back online in a week with a rant or two. I am still writing for the Columbia Missourian and may modify next week’s column for these pages.
I hope this finds you all well and in great spirits. I certainly am and look forward to re-entering the blogosphere shortly.