I posted a while ago about my Father being terminally ill. He passed away a few weeks before his 71st birthday.
For the past month, I have been trying to deal with the good intentions of people telling my mother and I that we would see him again. My mother does believe this on some level, although she isn't overly religious. I find myself wondering what the harm is in letting her have that to hang onto now. I even find that I wish I believed the same thing at times, because the loss would be easier to cope with if this wasn't the end.
I can understand now why people do want that to be the truth because, if not, than this is it. Once gone, is gone forever.
I was wondering how others cope(d) with the loss of loved ones in their lives.
I am very sorry for your loss, and the loss toy your family. I hope the coming weeks are easier than the last, and that the trend continues.
It's hard. Very hard. but religious people find it hard to, so don't be sad that you don't believe in the supernatural for that reason, though I'l grant you, probably not the best time to challenge your mothers beliefs.
The closest thing I can draw a comparison to is this; Smokers will light up when stressed, but remain stressed regardless. It is only some ex smokers who look at smokers when stresses and think 'That would be nice, that would help' (not a great comparison I know, but there's not much better than i can think of) Just remember that these religious types often don't really find comfort in their 'faith' at all, in fact many find their 'faith' tested, and even loose it in the face of such events because of the lack of comfort they find there.
What these religious people do find, is the support and friendship of other 'believers'. You don't need to be religious to find this support though a good circle of friends and family is all you need. Make sure you have someone to talk to, someone you can trust. I often find the the act of saying something out loud helps, regardless of what is said in return.
We lost a great free thinker in late 2011, Christopher Hitchens. He knew that his illness was going to get the better of him and, being an outspoken supporter of a secular society, he was asked would this affect his views or lack of beliefs in at least one interview. I wouldn't want to go into to much detail about the great mans response as I wouldn't do it justice. However this and many of his other interviews and debates can quite easily be found on youtube. This may or may not help, but it will defiantly give you something else to think about for at least a short time.
I really hope that anything I said here has helped you in even the smallest of ways, and truly hope that nothing I have said has seemed in any was ignorant towards you, your family, their beliefs or your very tragic loss. If there is anything more I can help you with and you want to talk confidentially, please don't hesitate to sent me an email.
Our mother died in Feb. 2011, at 86. She had lived on the family land for 63 years.
One the day of her ash spreading, each family member got a small envelope of ash to spread as they saw fit.
My little portion was spread over a corner of our large garden plot which I then planted in tomatoes. That summer my wife and I ate the tomatos as a sacrement...
My dad passed away two years ago today at 71. We are a family of atheists, so we did not have religion in the picture at all. I found myself searching all the corners and crevices of my psyche for any hidden seeds of faith, and found none.
What I knew was that my dad had lived and died, and that was it, really. It did make me reflect on his life and on mine. I felt so sad I thought I would never heal, but I am continuing to heal. I can see his effect on who I am as a person, and am grateful for all he did for us.
About a month ago I went home for the first time since he died, and I saw the certificate for my dad's burial at sea from a Coast Guard vessel, and I was comforted and pained. My mom gave me a bunch of my dad's things, among them was my father's old camera. As I looked at it, I realized I didn't ever really know him the way I wish I did.
I got the thought that I would get some film and go take some pictures with his camera, as some kind of way to do something concrete in the process of grieving and as a way to reclaim my connection with my father and my past.
My father was always after the perfect shot, and I don't know if he ever felt he had it. I will try to find that shot for my family and for myself. He doesn't care any more, obviously, but it might do us a world of good.
I wish you all the comforts you can find in this difficult time. There's no way to not feel that gaping psychic wound except for letting it heal. I don't know if any of this will help, but at least you know that you are not alone in your atheism in times of great sadness, and that even without a god it does get better.
I don't believe in taking away superstitions which others find comforting unless they lead directly to danger or damage. To interrupt someone's grief by challenging their core beliefs would basically make you the Westboro Baptist Church of atheism.
My condolences to you and your family for you loss. No way you can warp your head around the issue of death and the loss of your father. Just try to celebrate his life and cherish the memories that you shared really, really hard.....