Before Heather Ferguson‘s father died, he had one request about his funeral:
There was only one thing my dad told me he wanted in his funeral — no God. And in case you are thinking he said, “Know God,” let me set you straight. His actual words were, “I am an atheist and I feel very strongly about that.” These were my only marching orders when I started organizing his funeral.
She hadn’t ever used the word “atheist” to describe herself, and resources for atheist funerals aren’t always easy to find, which made it difficult for her to find something appropriate, but she eventually found a way to honor his memory in a secular way:
You could argue we shot Dad’s funeral straight up the middle. Everyone who spoke knew him well enough to tell a great story.
Tons of references to his passion for golf.
I sneaked in a poem or two.
The whole room sang Blue Skies with heart and soul.
Lots of people remembering him, often with fond humour and there was a great abundance, an almost overwhelming sense of love.
That’s what a funeral should be. Sharing wonderful memories and celebrating a life. No need to include stories about the afterlife or inject religion into the matter.
It’s really a beautiful story of a situation a lot of people, unfortunately, have to go through. Give it a read.
And if you’re looking for information on dealing with death as an atheist, check out the resources at Grief Beyond Belief.
(Image via Shutterstock)