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FeelHappy

Dealing With Death

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I'm curious, do ex-christians find dealing with the death of a loved one way harder than when they were a christian? Recently I lost a sibling and its been hell getting over, the thought that I'll never see them again in this life or the next is almost unbearable. When I lost a grandparent a few years ago, there was a lot of comfort knowing that one day I'll see them in heaven, now the delusion is lost.

 

 

*I have to assume this topic has been dealt with before, but I'm new and in my ignorance, I can't find a search function. I don't know the correct procedures of just creating a new topic or using the old one, so I apologize if this is wrong.

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It is difficult, but at the same time I still like to believe I will be with them in a way. When my body is taken in by the earth, I will be one of many who is helping to feed the planet. The fact that I will be where all my loved ones will be anyway comforts me, even if I won't be fortunate enough to consciously experience it.

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I'm curious, do ex-christians find dealing with the death of a loved one way harder than when they were a christian? Recently I lost a sibling and its been hell getting over, the thought that I'll never see them again in this life or the next is almost unbearable. When I lost a grandparent a few years ago, there was a lot of comfort knowing that one day I'll see them in heaven, now the delusion is lost.

 

 

*I have to assume this topic has been dealt with before, but I'm new and in my ignorance, I can't find a search function. I don't know the correct procedures of just creating a new topic or using the old one, so I apologize if this is wrong.

 

I can't say for all of my loses so far happened when I was a Christian. Believing that this life is all we get makes me appreciate it more. When I lose more loved ones I'm going to try to get the grieving process over. All you can do is move forward until you reach acceptance.

 

Loss of loved ones sucks.

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So sorry to hear about your loss. I can't say it's all easier or it's all more difficult. The idea that I'll never, ever see that person again is indeed more gut-wrenching than it was during my time of faith. On the other hand, I no longer have to worry about whether a person was saved or not when they died, so I don't have to spend time sweating about whether they are in heaven or hell. I don't have to worry about the fact that a loved one who spread love and laughter everywhere they went might be burning in torment because they weren't a regular church-goer, or because they might have been going to the "wrong" kind of church. And I will tell you this: I never really understood the phrase, "He lives on in my heart" until I accepted the lack of an afterlife. For me immortality is real, but in a materialistic, non-sentient way of living forever. Our deeds and actions leave a lasting impact on the people around us, and the way we affect them alters in some way the impact they have on others. It gets passed along from one to another. Every breath I take rearranges the air around me. Every word I speak to someone else in some way alters their day ever so slightly, and ever so slightly alters their next interaction with someone else, and so on, and the chain of events continues long after we're gone. In that sense, we all impact eternity. We all live forever. That's how I cope.

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Perhaps its just early for me, I was a fundamentalist christian only a year ago. I just remember being sad when my grandfather passed away, but I was comforted by the assumption that one day when I died, I'd get to see him again (in an insane way, perhaps I was a little joyful about the prospect). As for my brother, I know that I have a long time to live and I won't see him again, it really does make things harder. I guess I didn't worry as much about them being in heaven or hell, so that didn't cause my terror.

 

I will say that I have more of an appreciation for this life now than I did a year ago when I was ready go be with Jesus at anytime, perhaps that's also what makes death seem worse. Its easier to believe that death is not the end, than to accept that we'll all just end back up as dirt. The belief in an afterlife is one of the most appealing thing about being a Christian. The biggest comfort that I have now is the knowledge that there's nothing I can do to change anything, not near the same. Thanks for the replies.

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This was a greater loss to me than losing God. The thought of never seeing my Dad again was one of the most painful losses I’ve experienced. Losing him at 3, was the greatest loss of my life & now I am realizing he’s never going to see me face to face, and answer all my questions. Now, I really have to grieve and move on because those 3 years were all I got.

Things have gotten a little easier as the years have gone on. I take the grieving process more seriously, I allow myself to feel the pain of loss. Since this realization I have lost my in-laws and my grandfather. I take great comfort in the grey areas. I am comfortable with us being dust & returning to dust. My grandfather taught me so much about being disciplined and humble, his character and love for his family are untouchable. I figure it’s better to live with him every day in my heart & pass these things on to my kids than to wait to see him in heaven. His life makes me take my stewardship responsibilities of the earth and my kids seriously. My in-laws had a lust for life & a commitment to making their community a better place to live. They loved people and people loved them. They ate, and drank & they were merry!! I miss them because being around them was happiness and joy. Everyday I want to be more like them. I take comfort in knowing these people are still in my cells & the air I breathe.

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I think about the people that I've lost and now that I'm not a Christian I am able to celebrate the life they lived. I know that I won't see them again and that's okay. The loss is still there and each person works through it the best they can.

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I'm sorry about your loss, FeelHappy.

 

When I was a Christian I was constantly worried for loved ones ending up in Hell if they die. My grandparents for example are life-long atheists, so I worried they would go to hell if they died (though they are some of the best, most honest people I know). As well as my mom who I would say is agnostic. Also, according to the Bible the vast majority of mankind would go to hell. So compared to that it's MUCH better to know there's no such thing as hell. I take nothingness any day over the Biblical concept of an afterlife. Even the Christian heaven doesn't attract me at all, nor do I wish that to my loved ones - I mean worshipping a tyrannical bastard for eternity. What's so great about that?

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I'm curious, do ex-christians find dealing with the death of a loved one way harder than when they were a christian? Recently I lost a sibling and its been hell getting over, the thought that I'll never see them again in this life or the next is almost unbearable. When I lost a grandparent a few years ago, there was a lot of comfort knowing that one day I'll see them in heaven, now the delusion is lost.

 

 

*I have to assume this topic has been dealt with before, but I'm new and in my ignorance, I can't find a search function. I don't know the correct procedures of just creating a new topic or using the old one, so I apologize if this is wrong.

 

Hi FeelHappy,Welcome to Ex-c. I am so very sorry for the loss of your sibling. I lost my only sister, so I know a bit about what this feels like. It's not fun. Give yourself time. Time not only heals a little bit, but it also allows you to get used to living on the earth without that loved one. Once you get used to this, you will be able to talk all about the good times you had.

 

Yes, my dear friend, when I recognized that there may possible be no heaven to meet agiain.....I had to grieve again. I'm not sure we ever stop grieving...the pain does seems to lift so that we can start to enjoy life again, but there is always that little twinge of loss sitting in my heart....maybe forever. Just seems to be part of the deal being human. You love..you lose..... and you never forget.

 

Let those tears flow whenever you feel them.....cry as hard as you can......beat the pillow if you have too.....it will subside and you will be able to breathe lighter after a good cry.. You have already felt the worse. The worst will last for awhile and then start to lighten a little. Each month will get a little tinier better. Make sure you do one thing a day that your sibling would have wanted you to do. Live for your sibbling. Why not write out and tell us about your sibbling on the EX-c Memorial I just started? Writing is good for you.

 

http://www.ex-christ...__fromsearch__1

 

you hang in there....... we are right here to help you along......huge hug for you today......

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I'm sorry for your loss Feelhappy. I don't think about my own personal death much. I try to prevent it through reforming my diet and exercising regularly. And up til now, I hadn't given permanent separation from my loved ones much thought. Things like that come in go in cycles and probably become a greater concern in certain stages of life where we feel more vulnerable to our mortality.

 

But the idea of seeing loved ones in heaven and getting to have some sort of "family time" with them isn't exactly biblical. The most the bible says is that the thief on the cross was promised to get to be with Jesus and that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, to paraphrase loosely.

 

So the comfort people take from dogma about "heaven" is based on scant biblical support. Sure, in an effort to comfort the sheep theologians will say things like "the answer to whether we'll recognize our departed loved ones now residing in heaven is as certain as our assurance of seeing our Savior. (Christianity Today, 3/8/2010)." But that's just an unsupported leap in logic. There's just nothing about the social and family lives of people in heaven. Given the fact there will be no sin in heaven and given the fact that the bible god is in it for his glory, it's more likely that heaven's human residents will be almost mindless automatons who recognize only Jesus and the Father and give little thought to the other heavenly choir members around them.

 

But it was nice to have an afterlife to look forward to. Now we just have to make the most of this life and meet our challenges with courage and tell as many people as we can how much they mean to us now while there is time to live , love and enjoy life.

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FeelHappy, I'm sorry for your losses. I had a similar observation in my own life. When my grandparents died a few years before my deconversion, I mourned them deeply but I had hope that I'd reunited with them in heaven. When I deconverted I tried not to think of it too much but when I did, I was surprised that it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. They lived good lives, had kids and grandkids, and were loved. A year or so after I deconverted I lost someone who I didn't know very well but I shared a dream and a future with. His death still hurts a lot. It doesn't bother me so much that there is no afterlife. What bothers me is that he was young. He wasn't finished living and it seems so unfair that his life was cut short. I'm assuming your brother was on the younger side. Could that be part of your struggle? The mourning process is long and convoluted. Please take care of yourself, give yourself permission to grieve as long as you need to. Know that we are here for you.

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OMneg: for sure his age has something to do with the hurting and unfairness. We are both in our 30s (which is far too young) and he has a children he has left behind.

 

Margee: thanks for the idea, although he was a Christian so I'd feel somewhat worse posting about him here, I don't think he would have appreciated it.

 

oddbird1963: Perhaps you're right, but like many things the bible is ambagious and perhaps contradictory. In the bible when Jesus rose from the dead, he went around and saw some of his followers and ate with some of them. 1 Cor 15, talks about the resurrection and seems to imply that the final resurrection will be similar. Furthermore if you take the parable of Lazarus as a glimpse into the afterlife then the rich man both knew and recognized Lazarus and asked him questions. There are so many alternatives though that it has kept people in debate for 2000 years. Of course I could be completely wrong about these things, I'll acknowledge that ahead of time.

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I think this is another subtle mindfuck that the brainwashing stains one's psyche with.

 

This is coming from someone who has been an atheist by default for his entire life. I've been asking questions since....I've been able to ask questions and luckily I had parents who gave me honest answers. Included is the classic: What happens after you die? Neutral answer: No one knows for sure, no matter what they say. Logical answer: Exactly what 'happened' before you were born.

 

It never bothered me knowing from early on that this is almost certainly the only life there is. I think it's a tragedy that so many do not get that luxery; and likely because of the indoctrinated bullshit. It may be comforting to think you'll get to see a loved one again. But I think it's a false need for comfort implanted from being lied to in the first place about the nature of death. In fact, from my perspective, it appears to be emotionally excruciating for one to hold out such a great hope with absolutley no chance of reconcilation....until one dies.

 

That there is what cheapens this life to me in religious doctrinal bullshit. There's actually a twisted 'hope' for death because there's a promise of some glory to be had. Problem is death is as final as we living can percieve it to get. Trying to sugar coat it is the classic ploy of religious false hope.

 

FH, feel happy that your loved one manipulated the neurons in your brain in a way that envoked love and true bonding between you two. Those memories are real and they will live on with you as long as you do. They are just as part of this universe as yourself and your sibling are. It can't get any worse between you two and the possibilities are all yours to make it a world of better. Rejoice in their 'spirit' in your mind and move forward with that strength in acceptance.

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No, no. Listen, listen. He said that if they dug his father's body up, it would be gone. They planted a seed over his grave. The seed became a tree. Moses said his father became a part of that tree. He grew into the wood, into the bloom. And when a sparrow ate the tree's fruit, his father flew with the birds. He said... death was his father's road to awe. That's what he called it. The road to awe.

 

The Fountain 2006

 

One of my favorite quotes and movies...

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Tealeaf: I wonder if I grew up not believing if these things would be easier.

 

I do get pretty tired of family and friends telling me that things happen for a reason and he's in a better place. I can't say that I believe that anything happens for a reason.

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Hi FeelHappy. Welcome to EX-C. I'm sorry for your loss. My wife and I deconverted just 5 months ago, so your question is one that has come up in our conversations for sure. I have come to the following personal conclusion: In any scenario after death, I am better off than the heaven/hell scenario. For example...

 

1. If there is nothing after death for my loved one that dies, then there is nothing for me. Simply put, we will both be completely unaware of our existence because we won't exist, so it won't matter at that point.

 

or (I prefer #2 below)...

 

2. Considering the first law of thermodynamics (Energy can neither be created nor destroyed), I think it's likely that we do live on in a different dimension than we currently exist. If so, then we may have a consciousness in that dimension. If we do, then I think we will "see" our loved ones again. If we don't have a consciousness, then it won't matter.

 

I hope that helps. Best wishes.

 

jblueep

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Tealeaf: I wonder if I grew up not believing if these things would be easier.

 

I do get pretty tired of family and friends telling me that things happen for a reason and he's in a better place. I can't say that I believe that anything happens for a reason.

 

Things happen in-so-far as you can find or make reasons for them yourself; so find as many as you can. Death is not one of those things we can control however. The best reconciling 'justice' we can come to find to complete lack of control is it's inevitability. That is, we are all going to die, and there is nothing we can do about it (to somewhat quote the great Lord Morpheus). This lays the grounds for equality between us all. It's something - if balls brazen enough to admit - you can find equal comfort in with any human being.

 

I guess there's not much you can do about it now, but I would say you would very much have an easier time accepting death if not for the being shot up with the fluff early on. A personal case in point would be the last significant death in my family: a grandmother. I still recall distictly the atmosphere in that car after the initial funeral proceedings on that fairly warm Fall 2005 afternoon. Myself, a brother, father, and one uncle sat in accepting silence. No proposals. No gushy spirts of emotion. None of us religious.

 

2 uncles and a cousin however.... The sun happens to shine through the clouds at one point.... "Ah it must be *Annie* shining down upon us" one spouts. "Yeah this must be her shining through to us" another proclaims. Of course, all had been fairly well taken in by the religious juice and were tweaking on the high-hope.

 

I couldn't help but think - and see in the 3 other's eyes - how desperate, unstable, and juvenile it seemed from the 3 banking on these sentiments. I mean, this was a person who meant as much to everyone in the car at the time (I wouldn't be here without her) yet 4 of us could accept the reality of the situation, while the other 3 had to make a spectacle of it. It just didn't seem coicidental to me that those making the huffy-fluffy supernatural claims were those taken in by supernatural beliefs. And those, while obviously saddened, who were not inclined to any supernatural predispostion seemed quite calm and collected about the situation.

 

I'm not trying to be a jerk or anything. I know it must hurt like hell. I'm suggesting a strength in the power of accepting the reality of death. It may be the greatest asset you can have when dealing with the faith-heads trying to cloud your mind with BS. A good dose of displaying your acceptence of reality may generally been sufficient to shut them up; at least from what I've seen. I still recall one turn to my father with this antsy smile saying 'right...right?!' and my dad simply saying 'yeah, whatever you want man'

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Hello Feelhappy, I am very sorry for your loss. Even though your brother lived only into his thirties, I hope he led and experienced a full life. He must have been strengthened by knowing you were there for him.

 

When I have lost people dear to me, I've felt some contradictory things. My take is:

 

Your grief and sadness honor your brother. In ancient epics like the Aeneid, the heroes weep for their fallen comrades more than anyone else does.

 

On the other hand (isn't there always an 'on the other hand'?), if we conclude that we live and are no more, then death is nothing to us, because while we live, death is not, and after death, there is no "we" to experience loss. So there is no logic to mourning your brother as though he is deprived of something now. He lived, and he experienced good things on this warm earth. His life could have been longer but no moment could have been more "alive."

 

All best, Ficino

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......

1. If there is nothing after death for my loved one that dies, then there is nothing for me. Simply put, we will both be completely unaware of our existence because we won't exist, so it won't matter at that point.

 

or (I prefer #2 below)...

 

2. Considering the first law of thermodynamics (Energy can neither be created nor destroyed), I think it's likely that we do live on in a different dimension than we currently exist. If so, then we may have a consciousness in that dimension. If we do, then I think we will "see" our loved ones again. If we don't have a consciousness, then it won't matter.

......

 

FeelHappy, I'm so sorry for the loss of your sibling. I'm sure it hurts. ((hug)) I hope that your good memories will give you some comfort.

 

I would agree with what jblueep wrote. I guess I'm still "blinded by the light" in some ways, because even though I am not a Christian...I want to hope there is something more than this life on this world. Maybe that makes me crazy...but I just kinda hope that after I go from this world, that in some other dimension I'll meet up with loved ones who have passed on.

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Hi FeelHappy,Welcome to Ex-c. I am so very sorry for the loss of your sibling. I lost my only sister, so I know a bit about what this feels like. It's not fun. Give yourself time. Time not only heals a little bit, but it also allows you to get used to living on the earth without that loved one. Once you get used to this, you will be able to talk all about the good times you had.

 

I just happened to read your info page where you mentioned your sister (I can't believe that I've not viewed it before), I feel the exact same way about not seeing my brother again.

 

I'm curious do you have an updated ex-testimony listed here?

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Hi FeelHappy,Welcome to Ex-c. I am so very sorry for the loss of your sibling. I lost my only sister, so I know a bit about what this feels like. It's not fun. Give yourself time. Time not only heals a little bit, but it also allows you to get used to living on the earth without that loved one. Once you get used to this, you will be able to talk all about the good times you had.

 

I just happened to read your info page where you mentioned your sister (I can't believe that I've not viewed it before), I feel the exact same way about not seeing my brother again.

 

I'm curious do you have an updated ex-testimony listed here?

 

Hi feelhappy. How are you doing with this loss? I have so many posts that I really don't know where to point you. My sister is mentioned in a lot of them...... but if you need to talk to someone.....feel free to PM me. I'm right here for ya!! Big hug for you.

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Survival is built into our DNA, so avoiding and mourning death is only natural. Just don't dwell.

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This was a greater loss to me than losing God. The thought of never seeing my Dad again was one of the most painful losses I’ve experienced. Losing him at 3, was the greatest loss of my life & now I am realizing he’s never going to see me face to face, and answer all my questions. Now, I really have to grieve and move on because those 3 years were all I got.

Things have gotten a little easier as the years have gone on. I take the grieving process more seriously, I allow myself to feel the pain of loss. Since this realization I have lost my in-laws and my grandfather. I take great comfort in the grey areas. I am comfortable with us being dust & returning to dust. My grandfather taught me so much about being disciplined and humble, his character and love for his family are untouchable. I figure it’s better to live with him every day in my heart & pass these things on to my kids than to wait to see him in heaven. His life makes me take my stewardship responsibilities of the earth and my kids seriously. My in-laws had a lust for life & a commitment to making their community a better place to live. They loved people and people loved them. They ate, and drank & they were merry!! I miss them because being around them was happiness and joy. Everyday I want to be more like them. I take comfort in knowing these people are still in my cells & the air I breathe.

 

I am TERRIFIED of this aspect of being an EXChristian. But this ..."legacy" way you describe of dealing with it.....its compelling. I have certainly become more ...I don;t know....sentimental? maybe ? since I left the faith.

 

My grandmother's lessons are more vivid to me, especially since I have had to grieve her all over again since I held her hand twenty years ago, **CERTAIN*** she was in a better place and that we would see each other again! It SUCKS.

 

Honestly, this is the one facet of this deconversion that I have not yet wanted to face. I have roundly avoided it.

 

But to add a different twist>>>> I am still closeted to my middle school child. We don't go to church REGULARLY anymore, but I don't think he/she really knows WHY.....

 

the reason I say this is because MY BIGGEST FEAR>>>>>

 

IS MY OWN DEATH AND HOW THAT WOULD IMPACT SUCH A YOUNG CHILD, ***IF HE/SHE KNEW I DIDNT BELIEVE I WAS GOING TO HEAVEN, OR THAT I WOULD BE IN HELL*** ANd to some extent , wrapping my arms around my own mortality, which I did several years ago for the FIRST time, but as a CHristian.

 

This is the toughest part of this lack of faith. And I hazard, dealing with death is the REAL REASON people wrap themselves in that warm delusion to begin with.

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Hi feelhappy. How are you doing with this loss? I have so many posts that I really don't know where to point you. My sister is mentioned in a lot of them...... but if you need to talk to someone.....feel free to PM me. I'm right here for ya!! Big hug for you.

 

Thanks again for your concern, its been less than 2 months, but I've learned to keep busy all the time. Its only when I slow down, I really hurt.

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FeelHappy: I got to this thread later than most but I'm sorry for your loss.

 

Death does not bother me. Of course, it's easy to say that when I'm young and healthy, but when my time comes I doubt that I will feel differently. Sooner or later, everyone and everything that is alive dies. It's part of life. The only choice we have is how we feel about it. Will people accept death with dignity or will they spend the years they have chasing after immortality/the hereafter with some kind of religion? The way we conquer death is to accept it.

 

I've lost people close to me so I know how it is. Hell, I lost my best (and only) friend when I was 7. (he was in an accident) He was there one day and gone the next. No warning. In the ensuing years, I have lost others as well. Rather than mourn for them, I try to remember them as they were. In a way, they live on in me. I can't do anything else about it, and long-term grief serves no purpose.

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