As most of you are aware, Foxy Methoxy died a few days ago. Death is always hard on people, you don't even need to be extremely close for it to effect you deeply. I guess that I've been lucky that I have had few people I know on any level die, in fact only three come to mind; and that includes Foxy Methoxy.
I'm not going to speak chronologically, but will speak I guess more topically. I'll start with someone I'll call Jason.
Jason and I knew each other through High School and were pretty good friends, when I was going in and out of foster homes his parents took me in and we grew pretty close. His family considers me another son/brother/nephew. Our life paralleled in some ways in that we both became religious after we left school. I became a fundamentalist, and he dug into the Mormon faith he grew up in.
A couple years down the track we both hit a rough spot and begin doubting our faith. He eventually abandoned his, and I crawled back in for a couple years longer. During this doubting period, we went out and lived "in the world". He became more detached from his faith, but I eventually was won back. Sometime later Jason was riding his motorbike and was involved in an accident - died pretty much instantaneously.
When I was told that he died, I can't even put into words what I felt. I have never felt anything so deeply in my life as I did then. I never felt such sorrow, or even such joy on a level as deep and piercing as that. I understood completely what people meant when they said they felt like someone stabbed them in the heart - it was exactly that.
But, do you know what kept rolling around in my mind, again and again? That my friend Jason was in hell. There was no question, no doubt in my mind his final resting place and that is what tortured me. It took me a couple of days before I was close to okay, and a couple weeks till I was for the most part "back to normal". This is probably relatively short for most people, but I am in general not a very emotive person.
All in all, I just thought about the fact that he was in hell and that he was suffering now for all eternity. I thankfully no longer believe that, and no longer have missed evangelistic opportunities haunting my mind. I am now rather calm about his death. Which brings me to the deaths of the other two people I know.
These people died during periods where I wasn't a fundamentalist - and while I was initially troubled at their passing - the amount of grief I felt was relatively minimal in comparison. No matter how much I miss them, and feel the pangs of missed opportunities to speak one last time I know that despite all the pain they've gone through up until their death, I know that at the very least they're in peace now; and what more could I want for them than that? Religion did not bring me comfort during the death of those that are close to me, and I strongly suspect it is the source of much stress and sorrow for those that go through such experiences - I doubt many feel religion's comfort during these times.