I'm having a hard time with it. First, I think a little bit of a back-story is in order...
I came home from college for Thanksgiving break. During that weekend, my father told me that my grandmother (his mom,) was in the hospital. She was suffering from short-term memory loss for a few weeks, and my uncles finally convinced my grandpa to take her to the hospital. The doctors discovered a fairly large tumor on her brain. Before I went back to school for the remainder of the semester, I told my dad to keep me updated on her condition. He didn't... When I came back for the holidays, I found out that things had gotten much worse. My dad said that the tumor was malignant, and they did what they could to remove it... The doctors say that there's nothing more they can do, and expect that she only has 3-6 months to live. On top of that, she's almost completely forgotten her past. She can't recognize her husband, her kids, or her grandchildren. She had no idea who we were when my dad, my brother and I walked into her room.
I've never really had to go through the loss of a loved one. My great-grandfather passed away when I was only 9 or 10 years old, and he lived on the other side of the country, so it didn't hit me that hard. My great aunt passed away 4 years ago after a stroke, and it was so sudden that I was able to come to terms with it and move on fairly quickly...
Now, I'm feeling this sense of dread. I've never had to deal with knowing that someone I love is going to die soon. I think what hurts the most right now is that I know there is absolutely nothing I can do to save her; I just have to wait...
As someone who recently became an atheist, I'm having a lot of trouble coming to terms with what's been going on... I was always raised to believe that after we die, we go to Heaven, and our loved ones watch over us until we join them... Unfortunately, I don't believe in Heaven anymore, and that is just making this much more difficult for me to deal with.
So... Those of you who have gone through a loss, how did you come to terms with it?
Hi, I've been an atheist since about 96, in 2001 my Father died quite suddenly. One of the things that helped me deal with the loss was the belief that there was no plan. I heard many people say (though not to me) that it had all been part of "God's plan", it's supposed to be comforting, but it always seems the opposite to me. The idea that there was a "good" plan that just happened to be screwing me over at that time seems cruel; whereas the thought that there was no plan, that the universe was arbitrary and indifferent to me really helped.
Another thing that helped was that I think e carry an internal/mental model of those we care for, it's not complete and not correct, but those parts of a person we most care about are probably modeled with greater detail and I think, in a way, it's a piece of them. You can still stage conversations with that model, we do that with living people, and so still feel a connection to who they were to you.
One of the things that lead me to atheism was reading Oliver Sacks' books. The direct link between mind and the sense of self brought me to realize that I really didn't think there was a role/need for a soul, and hence existence beyond death.
Ultimately it's a very personal thing, I hope you can find something that works well for you, I've been told my views seem a little bleak
For me dealing with death was a huge wall i had to cross in my life. I see death as a natural thing it is bound to happen its what you do with your life up to the point where you are about to die. Since there is no afterlife might as well spread the knowledge you have been given to the next generation that will benefit them. I am sorry for the lost of your grandmother