Hey, I'm new to this place, so hi. I joined mainly because I was searching for a place online for I could find a place to talk with other atheists and find support through a crisis I'm going through at the moment.

My mom is in the hospital, she is very sick. Without going into detail, I'll just say she has high chances of dying, so, I'm dealing with a lot of emotions, and uncertainties, and grief right now. And I was prepared for none of this. We never thought this would happen, not now, not to us. She's been sick for awhile, but we thought they would find what was wrong. We thought she was getting better. I'm just, I feel tossed around in a sea of feelings and thoughts and utter shock, as if this isn't my life, this isn't supposed to be. And I don't know what to do.

I was brought up Seventh Day Adventist, taught that if you accept Jesus' "perfect gift of salvation", that when you die, you sleep in the grave until the second coming when the dead shall rise again. I am now free of that religion, which was quite hazardous to my mental and emotional health, not to mention, it was just plain wrong. No child should grow up in fear of the end of the world, but that's a topic for another time.

Anyway, my brain is primed with a different manual. One that says spend your time praying, or be angry at God, even though I know both of these things are entirely useless. But, I spent my childhood one way, and was never prepared for the idea that something like this could happen so soon. I'm not mourning the fact that there is no soul, or no afterlife, at least not now. My mother is not dead yet, and I still have hope, even in the face of a very large, gaping reality. I will probably have to deal with that when the time comes, perhaps I am trying to deny that that matters to me right now, I don't know.

I just feel very isolated, a lone atheist in a sea of Christians praying to a sky god, as if a merciful, loving god would ever allow my mother to suffer like this. I don't get angry when people say they are praying for her, or for me, to me that's like saying my thoughts are with you, that means they care. But I dread the inevitable, the moment when someone mentions God's plan, or Jesus's return, or Heaven and our perfect bodies, and the second coming. I dread this, my teeth grinding together in agony, it would be like rubbing salt in a fresh wound. I know my mother is a Christian, and my family are Christians, and they are entitled to their beliefs and practices, but when I am grieving, and feel so alone, so very alone and misunderstood, it hurts.

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First, Welcome! You have come to the right place.

I went through a similar situation back in 2008 when my mom became I'll and passed suddenly due to Brain Cancer. ThinkAtheist was an outlet for me when everyone around me was running to the church for answers.

There are many topics and groups here throughout the site from dealing with illness,death, theist family members, all the way to atheist humor to help take your mind off things.

Welcome to TA, Ashley. Some people and discussions here helped me a lot. I recently lost my mother. Maybe I should be glad I have such a small family, didn't have to deal with theists AND such great loss simultaneously. The pain you feel is directly proportional to the love you feel. Be proud of your ability to seek the truth, it's a very special trait......

I'm really sorry that your mother might pass away.

Consider using your time with your mother to communicate to her everything you want her to know (even if she can't hear you).

Again I'm sorry things are so grim. Don't feel so completely alone. You can be sure I, another atheist, am thinking much the same way as you and hoping things will work out.

Thank you all for the support.

I guess, right now, I'm really struggling with the emotional pain. Its painful in a way I didn't think possible before, I guess its not something you can prepare for. I just wish I could stop the pain right now, numb the anxiety.

Don't think of the bad times, remember the good ones.

Welcome to TA.

You will find a good community here, and hopefully it will help you get through your rough patch.

I'm terribly sorry you are going through this.  Keep in mind the depth of the pain you feel is only due to the size of the "blessing" your mother has been, and is, to you.  Sam Harris has some great talks on this issue.  Good luck.

Right now, I'm preoccupied with guilt. You see, me and Mom, like most families, had a dysfunctional relationship. I'm 21, and ever since I was teenager, we've fought and been tense. I've always lived with her, and in the last months, the last year, we butt heads a lot. We fought all the time. I said hurtful things, I didn't do things I should have.

I have my own problems, with depression, and other issues, lack of motivation. I wasn't spending time with her, I was staying in my room, on my computer all the time. I didn't do enough for her, the house was a mess. I was selfish. And the way things look, Mom will never be conscious for me to say sorry. I know I've heard stories of people sometimes being able to hear in states like that, but its not like we can ever know, if she never wakes up again.

I don't know, I just feel like a horrible person, a horrible daughter. When I try and think of the good times, the good things, my thoughts just head back to the same things. I don't know if I'll every get over the regrets, if I'll ever be good enough.

As much as I want her to wake up so I can talk to her before she dies, if she dies, for her own sake, I'd rather not have her wake up if she is going to die. I guess I feel protective in a way, like I wouldn't want her to go through the kind of fear and stuff that comes with dying, and the pain. Right now she isn't in pain as far as I know, from being unconscious. As far as I know, I'm unsure, it never even entered her mind that she might die. I suppose, its nicer to die not knowing you did, but I don't know. I just feel so bad, I wish I had been better.

I think you are doing well even to articulate what you have here.  Many people go through their entire lives never being able to identify their feelings that way.  Maybe the feelings aren't pleasant right now, but at least you are going through them consciously.  There is benefit in that.  The only way to get through difficulties like this, and go on without becoming incapacitated by the feelings, is to go through them exactly as you seem to be. 

You are already learning from this experience and, although you can't go back and change how things were, you can use what you are now learning in later choices you make.  I know, it is not much consolation now, but everything is not for naught. 

My father passed away from brain cancer a couple of years ago. When he was sick,  I found myself being as incredulous as you must be.  You articulated it well - I wondered how could this be happening to us, to my dad?  And yet, it went on happening.  I felt unprepared, like in one of those dreams where you realize it's November and you have somehow forgotten to attend school for three months even though you were signed up for classes. 

I felt regret about things I had done or not done, but took comfort in knowing that, beyond a certain point, my father couldn't feel anything bad.  His time of being hurt was over.  when I didn't know if he could hear me or not, I told him everything I needed to tell him anyway.  Ultimately, I was the one who needed to hear those things.

I also wondered how I would deal with people giving me religious platitudes.  In the end I found ways to shield myself from that added frustration, and it didn't matter too much.  I mostly tried to hear that they were trying to be caring, as you said. 

I am sorry that you are going through this, but you can get through it.

Thank you Diane. I would just like to say, we went to the doctor's this morning, and talked to him. Things had gotten worse, to a point where there was no hope. I had had a feeling this morning that today would be the day, not a 'psychic' feeling, or premenition, but when grandma said the doctor wanted to talk to us, I thought today might be the day. And when the doctor told us the truth, that there was no hope, that she was dying, was going to die (though he was a wonderful doctor, all the nurses and doctors were so nice) even though I was crying my eyes out I knew I couldn't let her linger on. I said my goodbyes, I said I was sorry, I would take care of the cats (we have 5) and that I would go to Jobcorp and get better. Hell, in the middle of crying I ended up laughing about how she used to joke that she would take her famous cookie recipe to the grave. Well, she might have, if I can't find it somewhere in the house. At least, there are little things to laugh at, but its not enough to stop the pain. I'm in a cycle of crying, then normalcy, then crying, then I'm fine, then my whole body hurts. We took her off the machines and she lasted about a minute, and it still feels barely real. I was there to see it, and it still feels so wrong, so unreal. I just feel so lost. I feel like I can't do this, and I miss her so much. And I guess telling all you guys, even though I don't know you helps, in some small way.

Ashley, it brings tears to my eyes to read that - it is such a brutal moment. It will get better.  While we atheists do not have the buffer of thinking that our loved ones will live on in Heaven, we know the value of a person's life as it really has been.  She was probably able to see you through kinder eyes than you think.  She had the benefit of being older and being able to see the qualities you possess that can hold you in good stead throughout your life. 

As difficult as this time is, you are doing well to be as aware of what is happening as it seems you are.  Just keep breathing and doing what is in front of you to do in the moment, and you will be alright.


Sorry for your loss. There are atheist support groups that get together for support and communion. There may be a group in your area. Just a thought.


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