How a Humanist, Lori Lipman Brown, Was Encouraged After the Death of Her Father

Lori Lipman Brown wrote a strong article in The Humanist that discusses how those who experience death can be comforted. For those who embrace secularism she shares a touching letter she received from a friend after the death of her father. 

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” 

Mark Twain

Outside Glacier National Park in Montana 

There was a moving article that I read in The Humanist that looked at how a humanist was encouraged and comforted after the death of her father. In the article Lori Lipman Brown writes how it was her father’s time. Using a gambling analogy to explain how his time would end one day Mel would state, “A good death after a good life is like a long roll on the craps table. It has to end sometime.” In the article Lori writes about how humanists can comfort and encourage others who have experienced death. But the highlight of the article is when Lori re-publishes a letter that she received that was rich with empathy and love.


Date: March 2019
Email Subject: So Sorry to Hear of Mel’s Death

Dear Lori,

I was so sorry to hear that your dad died.  He gave so much to us in his activism, his warmth, his humor and his friendship.  Please DO NOT FEEL THE NEED TO REPLY TO THIS EMAIL; I know you have a lot on your plate right now with all the details that need to be handled following a death.

If I can help you in any way, please let me know.  Here are some things I think I could do well that might help:

    • I can notify everyone at the local interfaith group.
    • If Mel left his tax documents and you trust me with such, I can help with his tax filings.
    • I can help go through Mel’s belongings and can bring anything you want donated to his favorite charity.
    • I can listen if you want to call/skype/visit/meet for coffee to share memories of Mel, how you are coping, or anything else you want to talk about.

These are just a few things I can think of that I could do, but if you think of anything else you need me for, just let me know.

With deepest friendship…

I would encourage you to read the rest of the article at The Humanist. I am writing about it because I think it addresses stereotypes that evangelicals have about those in secular humanism. You don’t need to have Christian faith in order to love or have compassion. You don’t need to believe in Jesus to care and help others in hardship or pain. For some people these ideas are challenging but its how many in the secular humanist community look at situations like this. Lori’s article gives us a window into humanism and empathy which is unique in many ways. You can read more in, “When a Friend’s Loved One Dies.”