I never met Christopher Hitchens, yet I took his death personally. I’ve read all his books and most of his recently published articles. He’s been a intellectual partner for the last 15 years, although, the partnership was all one way. I respected him. He challenged my thinking, and through that pushed me to become a better person. Few other people have influenced me in this way; my wife, a mentor, a few friends, my grandfather, and the author Harlan Ellison, make the short list.
Hitchens fills my library. His words will continue to influence me until I join him in death. I will pass along what I’ve learned to my sons (and soon a grandson), friends, and readers. His ideas and influence will live on through thousands of other people just like me. What I will miss is his intellect, his wit, and his wisdom.
I had lunch with two Christians yesterday. Hitchens’ death came up. Their utter lack of compassion left me feeling empty. I realized later that the emptiness was already in my heart. RIP Christopher Hitchens.