A great man died. I feel personally touched by his life and he will be sorely missed by many, the least of which am I. His words led me out of darkness and made me think; gave me reason to live by. For many of us he was the first we read on our journey out of religion. I will always think of him as having been the star of the new atheist movement. He was one of the four horsemen; and the best in my mind. I will miss him.
Hitch is dead. We are a diminished people for the loss. There can be and should be no consolation, no soft words that encourage an illusion of heavenly rescue, no balm of lies. We should feel as we do with every death, that a part of us has been ripped from our hearts, and suffer pain and grief — and we are reminded that this is the fate we all face, that someday we too will die, and that we are all “living dyingly”, as Hitch put it so well.
As atheists, I think none of us can find solace in the cliches or numbness in the delusion of an afterlife. Instead, embrace the fierce strong emotions of anger and sorrow, feel the pain, rage against the darkness, fight back against our mortal enemy Death, and live exuberantly while we can. Confront mortality clear-eyed and pugnacious, uncompromising and aggressive.
It’s what Hitch would have wanted of us.
It’s how Hitch lived.