As atheists, I think none of us can find solace in the cliches or numbness in the delusion of an afterlife. Instead, embrace the fierce strong emotions of anger and sorrow, feel the pain, rage against the darkness, fight back against our mortal enemy Death, and live exuberantly while we can. Confront mortality clear-eyed and pugnacious, uncompromising and aggressive.
My, such hostility! It’s practically a parody of a tragic poet, what with all that sturm und drang. Well, I’ll leave the professor to his fist-shaking at the heavens and stroll over here to converse more casually with you all.
You know the old saw about how living well is the best revenge, I’m sure. I think the basic principle applies here, too. All you can do is live. Live exuberantly, if you wish. Or with your passions on a slow simmer. Either way, just enjoy yourself and don’t worry overmuch about death; it’ll arrive at its own sweet pace. Confront it, fight it, rage at it, whatever. It don’t make death no nevermind.
And what’s the point of maintaining this antagonistic relationship with it anyway? Would you seriously want to live forever? Do you honestly believe disease can or should be entirely eradicated? Death is the necessary coda that keeps existence from sprawling out into endless, atonal meaninglessness. Its nature is such that it’s never dignified or convenient for you and I personally, but as a general rule, we couldn’t do without it. Wise men at their end know dark is right.