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"Nothing that has happened in my life since [I learned of my mother's death], nothing I believe and nothing I know, can provide consolation. This is why I suspect that I am in some way predisposed not to believe in God, because God is the only thing that could have provided solace... If I had felt that there was an afterlife, believe me, I would have killed myself then and there to join her." - Alom Shaha, The Young Atheist's Handbook.

Death happens, constantly. And, as social animals, the fact of it can hit us hard - especially when confronted with the loss of a friend, or relative.

I've been to funerals, but never of anyone I had very many memories of or of people especially close to me. I have seen close family members heavy with grief themselves though, and it's hard not to sympathise. Death clearly hurts.

The closest I guess I can come to empathising, and I know it may sound silly (even insensitive, as I began with a quote of Alom describing his feelings towards the death of his mother), is when I think of my experience with the death of not a person, but our old family dog. This animal, I'm sure, was one of the most caring creatures I will ever meet. I understand that it may be wrong to ascribe care, such a seemingly human attribute, to this dog - but I don't mind if I'm wrong in doing so; care was what I felt.

She was immensely protective. She would, I'm told, follow me around as a toddler on days out at the park giving other dogs she mistrusted evil eyes, which was enough to turn them away. She would, I can clearly remember, silently stand guard at night, without prompting, at the door to our tent if we were ever camping; only coming in to sleep once all of us had woken up the next day. In fact, each time, we'd try to get her in before settling down, but she'd insist on sitting there in the dark.

Most of all, she was the only dog I have ever known to simply refuse to fetch a stick. It's not that she was lazy, or unfit - she'd just rather be by your side (and, I like to think, saw the game for what it really was: pointless).

I adored her, as everyone who came into contact with her did - so finding her dead and stiff at the bottom of the stairs as I walked out of my room ready for school one morning was crushing. I had to step over the cold (I'd checked) corpse of this friend to go upstairs and tell my parents.

I can only imagine what hearing of the death of my Mother at a similar age would have been like...

(Continue reading this post)

Views: 120

Tags: Afterlife, Atheism, Death, Humanism, Life, Shaha, YAH

Comment by Real Life James Bond on April 10, 2013 at 11:19am

I agree, its not a pleasant experience.

Comment by Carnun Marcus-Page on April 10, 2013 at 11:40am

I must say, I don't look forward to it.

Oh my, it's almost like we Godless folk have... Emotions. Like we're not just feeling-less logic-bots.

Comment by Strega on April 10, 2013 at 5:20pm

@Angela   The guy who wrote this article talks about 'crossing over' and also coming back and 'haunting' people.  He seems convinced that death is merely an inconvenience.  It is a painful read at best.

Dealing with death of a close family member is tough, but calling it "crossing over" is simply wrong.

Comment by futilethewinds on April 10, 2013 at 7:00pm

It may seem counter-intuitive, but losing a pet can be harder than losing a person. I think it is mostly because there are few people that we physically touch as often as our pets. I lost my cat Angel over a year ago, and I still sometimes think I see her out of the corner of my eye. I still miss her grace and elegance. She died with more dignity then I've ever seen a human die. She just looked like she was sleeping, and she looked beautiful. She had struggled for over a year to survive, and then that night, she just stopped fighting. She was ready.

Comment by Carnun Marcus-Page on April 11, 2013 at 12:26pm

Strega: That was how I felt, yes. It was a little painful.

Futile: I'd love to say that my dog looked "like she was sleeping", but she had a very gruesome set expression of... I don't know how else to describe it other than that she was smiling a bit like the joker, eyes open. It was a very strange experience, looking at her. (I left that out of the post for obvious reasons.)

Angela: I'm in that camp too. We're physical, nothing more (and nothing less). 
It's always interesting to hear how anyone thinks about death :)

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