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Old 07-26-2014, 05:03 PM
 
Location: In my skin
9,048 posts, read 14,342,191 times
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I just went though some photos and found one of a dear friend who passed away years ago. I still miss him terribly. As I read what he wrote on the back of the photo, I thought, man, I'll probably never see him again. I go through this every time I think of a loved one who has passed. It sucks. The afterlife was such a huge source of comfort for me.

Can anyone relate?
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Old 07-26-2014, 05:35 PM
 
Location: Redmond, WA
559 posts, read 720,216 times
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Yes. And it's probably part of the appeal of "heaven". We want so badly to see people again. As an atheist I am not incapable of understanding why people have a desire to hold on to the hope of realizing that dream. TBH, I wish I had been born a believer, in a sense it would have made things easier in a Pollyanna-ish type way. But I wasn't born with that mindset, so I know instead to make every moment count, this is not the dress rehearsal, we get one shot at this, and that's it.
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Old 07-26-2014, 06:19 PM
 
13,699 posts, read 13,646,439 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PassTheChocolate View Post
I just went though some photos and found one of a dear friend who passed away years ago. I still miss him terribly. As I read what he wrote on the back of the photo, I thought, man, I'll probably never see him again. I go through this every time I think of a loved one who has passed. It sucks. The afterlife was such a huge source of comfort for me.

Can anyone relate?
My best friend died when I was in my early 20s. I never really bought into the afterlife idea. After her mother died several months later, I felt the immense weight of all our shared memories. The three of us used to do a lot together. I'm the only one who keeps those memories now. I don't believe I'll ever see them again. I don't believe we'll be reunited in some afterlife.

It's just a sad and awful thing, and I've accepted it. Everyone has at least a little tragedy in their life. This is part of mine. None of us are going to get out of this life unscathed, ya know? It's just part of the human condition, and I guess I feel a kind of solidarity in that sense? I'm a human being. I know joy and grief. And one doesn't mean much without the other. And there's also the fact that no one knew that better than my best friend and her mom. They taught me a lot about finding daily joy. It took me years to process those lessons though. I talk about them sometimes with people who knew them, sometimes with people who didn't know them. Because it's important to me that they are remembered.

There were these awesome moments of beauty and joy in my time with them. That's what I hang on to. And I just accept grief as a part of life and the idea that nothing really lasts forever.
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,198 posts, read 9,109,074 times
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Sometimes I think that the death of my second wife would have been intolerable to me -- would simply have caused me to implode into a black hole or something -- were it not for the fact that the actual positive experiences / memories were confined to our first couple of years together, before the miserable daily grind of her illness swept the good times away. My memory of our 13 years together is at best 3 years of goodness and 10 years of soul-crushing agony, the last six or so years at a fever pitch. She believed in an afterlife to the end, and was ready to be ushered into it. By that time I had already abandoned that hope, and I truly believe that hanging onto it would have been as painful as letting go -- simply because if god was not capable of giving her a good life, how could I trust her with him in an afterlife? I was better at looking after her interests than he ever was!

Now I have concerns that my 3rd wife may well precede me in death, and it's "deja vu all over again". But the nature of your attachments change after an experience like wife #2's dissolution. I no longer expect or hope that life will treat me with kindness. It's kind of like, take a number, get in line, bring it on, who cares. Whatever will be will be and I have little say in it. The idea of an afterlife no longer would comfort me and I am not wistful for it. I was happy to believe in it once upon a time, but am simply no longer capable, even if I wanted to. My jollies now come from totally doable things like mowing the lawn. Small but reliable jollies. I don't need the constant angst of striving for immortality and other things far beyond the actual reality of what I am.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
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Being pretty sure about what happens after death has never been enough for me. Even if there is a 1 in a billion chance of an afterlife...there still could be an afterlife. I want absolutes...so the way I deal with the death of loved ones is through understanding the only thing I know with 100% certainty. I don't know if they're still out there or not. That may make some distraught. I find it uplifting though.
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Redmond, WA
559 posts, read 720,216 times
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From a more pragmatic approach attending funerals early in life contributed to my atheism. Because of embalming and whatnot my young mind had the impression that death was something other than it was. The job of the funeral home is to make us look nice and pretty for when we enter heaven because everybody's beautiful in heaven right?

I got a little older and discovered the real reasons behind embalming, that human beings are no different from any other animal on this planet, it had nothing to do with heaven and everything to do with our comfort, as nobody wants to sit there and smell a rotting animal, and that's what we are: just another animal.

Most animals instinctively fear death. And if you go back into history, almost every civilization invented a god and heaven to erase that fear and take back the power from something they have absolutely no control over. As an atheist I'm not an ogre, of course I miss people and think about them all the time, even if it's been decades since their deaths, but when I'm dead myself it won't matter. It's the rest of my life without those people, not eternity without them, because there is no eternity.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:46 PM
 
Location: In my skin
9,048 posts, read 14,342,191 times
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So sorry about your loss, mordant. *hugs*

It's a daily process for me, being raised Catholic, being so used to saying things like "Thank God/Gracias a Dios" and "God willing/Si Dios quiere". I catch myself thinking it or saying it and it just doesn't feel right anymore.

I lost an uncle last year and, on the anniversary of his death, my cousins were all over FB with the usual stuff. He's watching over them. He's up there with his parents. They know they'll see him again, etc. I just can't relate anymore. I don't know if any of it is true. But I'm glad it brings them comfort.
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:17 PM
 
7,112 posts, read 9,367,961 times
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But the people you lose ARE still with you as long as you let yourself remember them. Nobody can take away what you got from them. You can even profitably ask yourself things like, "What would X say right now if he could be here for this?" It's a very real way of comforting yourself (at least in my experience). Losing someone -- and there have been a lot of those the past few years -- makes me fell rootless and disoriented, but I get my feet back under me and redirect myself by doing that.
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Greenbelt, MD
8,978 posts, read 6,517,474 times
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It happened to me when I was a teenager. It wasn't a big deal for me to accept it.

Believing in that crap and falling for it in a small portion of my adult life is very embarrassing for me to admit.
It is important to me to find others who are at least on the agnostic side. It is the main reason why I have spent most of my adult life alone. It is very difficult for me to find someone who can relate that the idea of an afterlife is a lie.

Adding my condolences to poster mordant.
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
4,415 posts, read 2,994,696 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
Sometimes I think that the death of my second wife would have been intolerable to me -- would simply have caused me to implode into a black hole or something -- were it not for the fact that the actual positive experiences / memories were confined to our first couple of years together, before the miserable daily grind of her illness swept the good times away. My memory of our 13 years together is at best 3 years of goodness and 10 years of soul-crushing agony, the last six or so years at a fever pitch. She believed in an afterlife to the end, and was ready to be ushered into it. By that time I had already abandoned that hope, and I truly believe that hanging onto it would have been as painful as letting go -- simply because if god was not capable of giving her a good life, how could I trust her with him in an afterlife? I was better at looking after her interests than he ever was!

Now I have concerns that my 3rd wife may well precede me in death, and it's "deja vu all over again". But the nature of your attachments change after an experience like wife #2's dissolution. I no longer expect or hope that life will treat me with kindness. It's kind of like, take a number, get in line, bring it on, who cares. Whatever will be will be and I have little say in it. The idea of an afterlife no longer would comfort me and I am not wistful for it. I was happy to believe in it once upon a time, but am simply no longer capable, even if I wanted to. My jollies now come from totally doable things like mowing the lawn. Small but reliable jollies. I don't need the constant angst of striving for immortality and other things far beyond the actual reality of what I am.
You have my condolances as well, Mordant. I should have typed that earlier.
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