My father was diagnosed with Stage 2B Pancreatic Cancer this January. He has completed the Whipple procedure, and is now facing 3 rounds of chemo and advised radiation. He has been given a 5 year survival rate. My father is 52 years old.
A little about my background: I was raised as a Christian, but started second-guessing religion when my mother was in a near fatal car accident when I was just 7 years old. The older I grew, the more I doubted what I'd learned about "our maker" and had a harder time accepting the unfathomable stories told in the Bible. What little faith I had fizzled out entirely when I went on to art school and surrounded myself with like-minded individuals who questioned the same things I did. I met my incredibly intelligent husband in college, who is a Catholic-turned-Atheist (there seem to be a lot of those, have you noticed?), and he was able to provide very logical, sensible explanations to every devine-related question I had. His rational, valid answers - and watching Zeitgeist - was the final nail in the religion coffin for me.
I'm currently struggling with how to handle this prognosis. I've been through the desperation and depression phases, and am now immersed in full-on anger and furious resentment. I'm beyond irritated with people who tell me "It's all in God's plan," "We are praying for him," and variations of the like. I've even had a relative have the audacity to say to me something along the lines of "I hope this situation has re-ignited your belief in Him." I usually just feel bad for people who are too scared or narrow-minded to face the reality that we're on our own, but now it just infuriates me that people are clinging to the idea that "He will make it all better." If anything, this has absolutely proven to me how there is no possible way a greater power exists. One would not let my infinitely caring, honest, and kind father writhe in pain and look his daughter in the face asking her to kill him.
So, my question to all atheists is: How do I cope with my father dying? Who can I talk to that will understand and identify with my pain and my need for rational thinking to deal with this terrible situation?
(((hugs))) I just watched my brother in law (47) die of esophageal cancer, and yeah people grasping at straws either religious or woo based comes with the territory. You have every right to feel angry, and sad and scared and all the other emotions you are going to go through. (I'm only a little younger than your dad I also have breast cancer, just finished chemo & started radiation, just so you know a little about me)
Honestly theres not too much one can do about people wanting their safety blankets of religion or woo. I found myself biting my tongue in half on more than one occasion. I started blogging my experience, shouting at the world helps a little. I made sure people who would be really hurt by it didn't know about it.
There are a few groups on facebook that are for atheists dealing with things like this "Grief beyond Beliefe " is one. You can also talk here I'll listen.
Basically Greif comes in waves ( IMO) and its going to be a long road. Try and be there for your dad as much as you can. Have the time you have with him to say all the tings you need to say.
not sure if any of that helps you.
Your response is absolutely helpful, thank you. Honestly just getting all my anger out in the above post helped quite a lot - I can see how blogging about your experience helps. I'm so sorry to hear about your brother in law and your battle with breast cancer. There are too many young people coming down with cancer these days, it's awful. My thoughts are with you during this time! xx