Sometimes I envy the religious in death!

I am Greg, husband of the recently deceased White Unicorn, Suzanne Olson-Hyde. We are/were both confirmed atheists of long standing - roughly 50 years each - we both gave up religion in our early teens.

But now that Suzanne has 'ceased to be', I am having an internal struggle between my logical self - still DEFINITELY an atheist, and my 'fantasy', wishful thinking self that would love to believe that Suzanne still exists somewhere and that she is being looked after.

My 'fantasy' self can't REALY come to grips with the fact that the "essence" of Suzanne, all her memories, personality, love and humour have simply evaporated back into the cosmic whatever. At this time in my life, I actually envy religious people as they have faux comfort ladled out to them by the faith they have - it really works for them as they don't realise or won't admit, that it is indeed 'faux'. So, faux or not, the comfort is real - for them.

Sadly, us atheists have no such comfort or reassurance, faux or otherwise - Suzanne is not in heaven being looked after by god or his entourage, and I certainly will not meet up with her when I snuff it - for me, at the moment, it all sucks.

I am new here and I hope I have posted this in the correct place/manner etc.


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Comment by James Brooks on June 2, 2014 at 5:15pm

First off Greg, I am sorry for your loss.

I've been questioning religion since I was 12 years old (I'm 36 now.) I didn't become a full blown atheist until I was 23. Unfortunately, about two months after I had come to the decision that I could no longer believe in religion, my older brother died in a car accident. I know that's different than losing a wife of many years, but he was my hero. He was 6 years older than me, and when I was growing up, as far as I was concerned, he could do anything. We weren't close as children, but in the five years before his death we became incredibly close.

I had a hard time dealing with his death (still do at times) along with the fact that I knew I was never going to see him again. I actually started to try believe again for a short time. Eventually, the rational part of my brain took over again and I realized that wanting to see my brother again wasn't reaon enough to start twisting my logic enough to believe.

I didn't mean to ramble on. I guess I just wanted to let you know that, although you never quite get over losing a loved one, it does eventually get easier. The way I've chosen to deal with it is to share as many stories about him with as many people as I can. This way, maybe he will live on, not only in my memory, but in the memories of others after I am gone.

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on June 8, 2014 at 5:17am

Greg, Suzanne's memories, personality, love and humour have NOT simply evaporated back into the cosmic whatever. You have them.

Comment by Dr. Bob on June 8, 2014 at 1:31pm

Ah, Greg, I am so sorry for your loss, and for the loss to all of the communities in which she engaged.   Her passion for justice will not be forgotten by any who knew her.

As a token visiting theist here, I will say a prayer for Suzanne.  Perhaps you all are right, and she is gone, and the rest of us await that fate.  But there is always the possibility that we do not yet have all the data on this.   If so, I expect her consciousness will welcome you into whatever is to come ( and she will surely kick my ass for being a Catholic and praying for the repose of her soul).

Until then, may you find comfort in the communities which share some of your memories of her, and the courage to persevere in good things as I'm sure she would have expected you to.

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on June 9, 2014 at 3:13am

...I will say a prayer for Suzanne... for the repose of her soul.

This does seem like a passive-aggressive way for Bob to express that his religious views are superior. It's partly that Bob is praying for an atheist, partly that "repose" means "shorten Suzanne's time in purgatory", but mainly that Bob made a point of announcing it.

Would it be beyond the pale to announce to a Jewish widower that you're praying for Jesus to forgive his wife's Judaism and let her into heaven anyway? Is it rude considering Bob acknowledges that Suzanne herself probably would've been annoyed and that she can no longer respond?

It's hard to imagine Bob believes prayer is comforting to non-believers or more effective for having announced it instead of doing it privately. So why say anything? Why make a point of telling Greg and everyone that Suzanne is being prayed for? Maybe Bob isn't being rude deliberately, but the prayer announcement comes off as more thoughtless than thoughtful.

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on June 9, 2014 at 6:17am

Keeping in mind that dictionaries both describe and prescribe word use, I turned to my tiny shirt-pocket-size Larousse French-English dictionary. It defines faux thusly: 1) wrong, 2) false, 3) fake.

So, Greg, your ...religious people have faux comfort ladled out to them by the faith they have uses the word correctly. My vision might be failing but that's one of at least two reasons I see nothing there to envy.

The native people I read of long ago in a cultural anthropology course have something I envy; they regard tribe members as having died only when no living person remembers them.

Further, a bit of thought tells us that Bob adapted a book formula -- I will say a prayer for X ... for the repose of her/his soul -- to the circumstances of Suzanne's death.

With formulas that call for prayer, xians conceal their feelings.

The existentialism that helped me free myself from religion told me I am condemned to freedom. We who have no belief in an afterlife are condemned to feel.

BTW, when we kick Bob's ass, let's each turn our kicking foot sideways. He is on his way to joining us and has a long journey ahead; we don't want to hurt him.

Comment by Unseen on June 9, 2014 at 12:40pm

Bob, explain how your praying for an atheist's "soul" is any different from the Mormons baptizing the dead (including Holocaust victims) into Mormonism. Doing somthing they would have disavowed in life is abusing the dead.

Comment by Erock68la on June 9, 2014 at 12:51pm

I agree Bob was being disrespectful, and I don't know whether it was intentional or not.  In this case I would just let it go.  Hashing it out here is disrespectful by all involved, in my humble opinion.

Comment by MikeLong on June 9, 2014 at 6:51pm

Sorry, Greg, for your HUGE loss.  It's not usual to use the word, "giant" in reference to a female, but, to me, it fits her personage.

Bob, you missed a real opportunity to garner a modicum of respect. If only you'd just dropped your middle paragraph.

Comment by Greg Olson-Hyde on June 29, 2014 at 4:04am

Sorry for the lack of replies, but every time I try I fail to find the required words. However, I would like to say that I was overwhelmed by the responses and will reply one day when the muse returns to my brain.

One thing I would like to clarify is what I meant by "all her memories ... have simply evaporated back into the cosmic whatever." I meant that the private memories in Suzanne's head, all the private nuances of her life that even I was not privy to, are the ones that have evaporated, not the memories OF her, those will never vanish. Not sure if I am making sense, so I will end here, only to return one day with greater verbosity and clarity.

Thanks to All - even her arch nemesis Bob

Comment by Belle Rose on June 29, 2014 at 4:53am
A woman's heart is as deep as the ocean, but I do believe women who love fully do not use restraint, just as their tongue use no restraint! LOL!!! And so you can rest assured that her internal memories (thoughts) were shared with you Greg, not hidden from you. And so they are your memories now, thus they live inside of you.


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