FFRF Lifetime Member Stephen Post wrote the following (edited for length) about his wife, FFRF Lifetime Member Diane Lynn Helder Post, who died Nov. 20, 2019. (She was born March 11, 1948.)
Diane didn’t like to talk m
uch about philosophy or religion, but she had a world-stance that was the foundation of how she viewed the world and approached her life. Diane rejected all supernatural claims, including gods, pseudoscience and superstition. She identified as a Secular Humanist, and we went to a number of their meetings and events.
Let me turn to Diane’s run under the sun:
Love of nature
• She totally loved this intricate and interrelated web of life that over eons has evolved “endless forms most beautiful” (Darwin).
• Our five acres of woods and garden is full of nature and was an immense joy to her. If she had time and the weather was good, she would be out there with a smile.
• She spent countless hours digging, planting and nurturing her garden and native plants, feeding the birds. (In really cold weather, she also fed the foxes and possums).
Love of science
• The first night we met at a dance she brought up topics such as the social structure of Bonobo chimpanzees, or black holes in space. She has told me that when she saw that I was familiar with and enjoyed those topics she realized we might be something special.
• The first time I was over at Diane’s house, I saw that she had stacks of Scientific American and Discover magazines in her bathroom. Once married, we got up to six science magazines per month. Diane read them all.
• I always have a nonfiction book going and Diane always enjoyed hearing me summarize the more interesting points. She got pretty familiar with relativity, quantum mechanics, materials science, molecular biology, evolution, computer science and so forth.
• Diane was very intelligent. She had a Master’s degree in statistics and another in data communications. She attained a high technical position at AT&T. She mastered my network modeling tool like a fish in water. As we extended the tool for our business, she and I always talked through the design of the complex algorithms and data structures.
• Diane also had a certain kind of whimsy and creativity that I found fun, but that also helped find out-of-the-box solutions, such as design issues in our product.
• Toughness and resilience. Diane worked through marital problems, single parenthood, breast cancer and developmental issues with her children.
• Diane was living the life she wanted with me. If she had wanted something different, she would have done it. She was happy.
Meaning of life
Diane realized that she was not simply an observer of life, but was an integral part of numerous vast and complex networks, such as the ecosystem, our nation, the economy, her family. There was also accumulated scientific knowledge, art and literature. These existed before her and were much greater than her. They were critical to sustain and enrich her life. Plus, she had compassion and altruism in her heart. She cared about people. She felt a sacred obligation to pitch in and work to leave the world better than she found it. The older she grew, the more she felt an obligation to posterity. She always researched political issues and voted, signed petitions, contacted lawmakers, volunteered at the polls and in the schools, and contributed to causes.
We found each other in our 40s and fell in love. We were together all the time, but I wish I had been wise enough to commit sooner than I did. She was my companion, my best friend, my lover and my true love. I’ll love her until I die.
Suppose you have a beautiful flower. You enjoy its beauty, perhaps especially because you know flowers don’t last long. Sure enough, the flower dies. You don’t think, “Damn, I miss that flower.” You think, “Wow, wasn’t that a beautiful flower!” Diane was my beautiful flower. The fact is that I do miss her, more deeply than I ever realized I could miss anyone. We’ve got to appreciate each other while we’re here and enjoy their remembered beauty when they’re gone.
On reflection, I now see my loss and grief are good things. The more you love, the more you will grieve. It is just logic that they have to go together. If I embrace the love, I must also embrace the grief. Her love was worth it. I am happy that so much of my time under the sun could be spent with Diane. The world is still wonderful and life goes on.