Last night sleep evaded me, a rarity in this late stage of pregnancy. I simply couldn’t shake the feeling that somebody was about to pass and I needed to remain awake until I received closure. It wasn’t that gut wrenching panic associated with the agony of losing a loved one….more like a sort of unfinished business that I felt compelled to attend to before I went to bed. For hours I stayed up, strangely absent of dread, waiting. Upon refreshing my browser I discovered that Christopher Hitchens succumbed to cancer only several hours prior.
As a longtime follower and admirer of his work, I knew about the disease. He never shied away from discussing his illness– or the fact that it was aggressive, terminal, and time was limited. His last article for Vanity Fair can be found here.
Most knew of Hitchens’ aversion to the concept of a higher power [God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything]….but what a narrow definition of such a complex and multifaceted person. “A brilliant wit, matchless rhetorician, and masterful critic” says Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair.
One day I will attempt to articulate how the writings of Christopher Hitchens impacted my life. Tonight I will use the words of others to speak for me.
No one stood more diametrically opposed to Hitchens than his own brother, Peter Hitchens, also an author [and a conservative Christian]. Read his perspective regarding his late brother’s courage.
Unlike the previous two eulogies, Richard Dawkins embraces Hitchens’ atheism. Let not his religious preferences [or lack thereof] sour you to his other ideas. A hallmark of solid faith involves the ability to be comfortable with the ‘opposition’ expressing their beliefs and– in my personal opinion– that individuals can agree to disagree and still having meaningful interactions with the power to inform and educate both parties.
Godspeed, Hitch. Your words are immortal.
With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,