Friday, October 24, 2008

Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives Part II

A follow-up to my post earlier this week about theoretical physicist Hugh Everett III and his son Mark Everett of The EELS. Mark writes a brief description of how his father's possessions and remains were handled:

"... my mom came back from the morgue with a small bag that contained my dad's wallet, watch and wedding ring. My dad, who was a devout atheist, had once told my mom that he wanted to be thrown out in the trash. My mom kept his ashes in a box inside a filing cabinet drawer in the dining room for a few years, and eventually honoured his request."

I wonder at the assumption that an atheist would not need a ceremony. I think it's great that Hugh's family followed his wishes, even though they were highly out of the ordinary. I can see how, for an individual person, being detached from the corporeal form could connect to atheism. There is no life after death, therefore our forms means nothing once they are vacated. But is that necessarily so? Couldn't an atheist want a ceremony? If for no other reason, maybe just to comfort those who survive them?

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