How did you come to terms with the idea of nothing happening after you die?
I still have issues with the fact that one day I'm just going to shut down like a PC and that's it. I'm not expecting an afterlife, heaven, hell and all that made-up bullshit, but I still can't fully accept it.

Some suggestions, own experiences would really be helpful.

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I'm not that worried. When you look at in, in the scope of the universe, it is true that the universe does not care about you or me or anything. Just think of yourself on the scale of the universe, and see how insignificant you are. Death is just a point in time. Everyone is dead... it's just a matter of degree.

The way for my own funeral--in the far, far, far future, of course--is to be buried and then have a tree planted over my remains; life bursting forth from death and so the cycle will continue. It is a beautiful thought, to have life coming from death and it will allow me one last pleasure of giving back to the planet :)
I fear pain more than death; as in, I fear dying in a painful manner. But as to nonexistence: the thought of eternal cognizance is far more terrifying than the eventual termination of cognizance. I would like to live an extraordinarily long life--say, a few billion years with a rocket ship of light-speed capacity in which to explore the cosmos--but I'm grateful that my awareness has an inevitable off-switch.

I think that the fear of nonexistence is perhaps a primal urge founded in a resistance to loss of control. Occasionally, I am struck with random pangs of terror while drifting off to sleep, even when securely tucked within my own bed. Maybe I am erroneously attributing an evolutionary advantage, but it likely would have benefited our undomesticated ancestors to maintain a discomfort with--or even fear of--falling asleep and lying prone to all of the potential threats of the nocturnal wild. Individuals who had no resistance to loss of control and were less guarded with their sleeping patterns were more vulnerable to attack and unlikely to survive. Perhaps our minds link the loss of control inherent in a sleeping body with the loss of control inherent in a corpse.

I realize that it is illogical to fear a loss of control when dead--after all, no mortal harm can be done to a corpse--but perhaps the association with sleep persists subconsciously.

Would ashes do much, as in providing nutrients? Wouldn't they be reduced to mostly carbon and little else?

I have a similar wish for my body when that day comes. After any useful organs have been harvested from me, to be awkward and going out with a bang of sorts, I'd like my family to somehow get themselves and my corpse aboard an aircraft carrier and by using the pneumatic system used to propell aircraft off it's deck, shoot my body into an ocean somewhere. I know my corpse will probably be nothing more than a snack for some things in the ocean, but I hope I could provide a tastey treat.

It's all unlikely to be fulfilled, but other than that I like that Buddhist tradition (I think it's Buddhism anyway) who leave their dead at the foot of a certain mountain for the scavenger birds to eat, a way of returning to the cycle. That would do for me. I just don't want my body to end up in a box or going up in smoke.

To be honest, this was one of the most frightening things I encountered upon deciding I was an atheist.  Unfortunately, I don't have a great answer.  All I can tell you is this outlook has made me look at my life very differently. 
Since I only get one shot at this life, I want the leave the world in a better place than I found it.  To leave a legacy so to speak.  While I admit this idea is scary, it doesnt make it any less real.  
Good luck, and let me know if you feel any better. 

Belief or non-belief don't belong in this conversation; at least for me. When I realized I was an atheist, I never thought of all the details, and I still haven't. It's not like if you would have decided to remain a religious person you wouldn't die, or when you would die you would go to heaven or hell. And without teamwork you can't improve the world that much. But hey, hope dies last!

To say, "hello" is to also acknowledge one day you must say, "goodbye."

Atheism actually helped me come to terms with death, I accept the natural state of man ... of life.  To be honest, I have no need to 'have' something in 'afterlife', I want life now!  

When my mother passed- I more easily than anyone else , accepted she was no longer present.  I made the choice to 'pull the plug' ... I was at peace in that, because I understood the cycle of life. 

Shut down and that's it ? No. We leave behind our seeds, our legacy,  our dreams, words... our 'art'. We have left our mark, through our children and to those we leave behind; we leave parts of us to continue on ... That's my heaven. 

Yeah, but it's like leaving a beautiful painting in a landfill.



I had in mind an image closer to this.

Ok then, a garbage dump, my mistake...

It's no landfill, it is the painting, we all add our own strokes.

E., I whole heartedly disagree with this statement.  You are implying that something cannot be meaningful if it doesn't last forever.  In order for something to be meaningful, it had to have a human to imbue it with meaning at one point, ever.  Then it doesn't matter whether the object is destroyed or you are destroyed.  The fact that it was meaningful in the first place is enough. 

You say you don't want to be selfish, but think objectively for a moment about how selfish it is to say that all you cherish loses meaning unless YOU are there, right now.  I'm not implying you are a selfish person, but I just want you to think about what you're saying when you says "it's like leaving a beautiful painting in a landfill." 

Something loses meaning if there will be no one left to cherish it. So, yes, if I die and no one else still alive cherishes the same things, those things lose meaning. In this case I'm not selfish at all, I'm realist.


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