Post # 1
I identify myself as an agnostic. I do not deny the existence of a god, but I highly doubt it and I don’t spend much time thinking about it. My religous views, or lack thereof, formed slowly over time. I was raised Catholic by a not very devout family and attended Catholic school. We were taught about religion the same way a child would be taught any other subject like history or science. Nothing was ever questioned. It just was. When I got to college and discovered how it was possible to have totally different beliefs and be so sure of them, I figured my “sureness” certainly couldn’t trump someone else’s, and my faith pretty much degenerated to the point where I have been for the last 10 years. I do not begrudge other people their faith, but I do not share it. Sometimes I envy people for it, but I cannot convince myslef to believe something just so I feel better, which leads me to my point today.
As someone without religion, coping with death and loss is awful. There is no comfort that someone is still always with you somehow, or watching you, or waiting for you in heaven. They are just gone. Forever. You will never see them again. I have recently suffered a miscarriage and it makes me wish I had religion to turn to, but it’s just not there. People say stupid things like “It’s God’s plan” or “the baby is up in heaven with Grandma SoAndSO” and it honestly makes me want to scream. I don’t want to insult people by saying that their faith is just a coping mechanism becuase the reality of life and death are just too depressing to think about without the context of faith, but I feel that way sometimes. I don’t know where I’m going with this. Maybe just to hear from other godless heathens like myself and how they process difficult life events in the absence of faith.
Post # 3
I’m so sorry for your loss. I, too, don’t subscribe to any particular religion.
I have certainly lost loved ones, and I remember that while they might not be “souls in heaven looking down on us” they do live in our hearts because we remember them and we love them.
You will always carry your baby in your heart. Your baby will always be with you, will always be loved, and will never be forgotten.
Post # 4
- Wedding: March 2014 - A castle
@GrannyPantiesRock: Godless heathen here, chiming in to support you.
Death really sucks as an atheist. I’ve actually had Christian friends confess to me that they are Christian because they don’t know what happens when you die, and the idea of Heaven is comforting, so they go along with it. *eyeroll*
When I lost my dad, hundreds of people said things to me like that. “He’s watching you.” “Now you always have someone to look out for you.” “He always knows what you’re up to and he’s proud of you.” “He’ll be there with you when you get married.”
He is dead. Gone forever. I watched the life leave him and his body is in the ground.
It sucks. It really sucks. But I guess I take a bit of pride knowing that I’m so strong now for confronting my loss head on. Instead of putting a bandaid over his death and deluding myself into thinking that he’s still here “in spirit,” I have said my goodbyes and I have made my mental ammends. I in no way miss him any less, but I also don’t lie to myself.
He is alive inside of me. My memories, my genes, my personality – it is all apart of him. As the PP has said, your baby will always be a part of you and will never be forgotten.
^Lots of people are going to disagree with this and probably think it sounds super harsh, but it’s just how I had to deal with it as a nonbeliever. Judge away.
Post # 5
Yah I don’t waste even a moment of my day thinking about religion, so I’m the same as you I guess. Death of a loved one sucks, but just because they’re gone forever doesn’t mean you don’t still have the memories.
Post # 6
Ah this is hard, I am also agnostic. All of my immediate family has passed away, My grandfather, my mother, my grandmother. It’s a hard spot to be in, sometimes I wish I could just blindly fall into a religion to comfort myself with their being gone ya know? but it doesn’t work like that for me. Mostly I try not to over think it, I try to think we don’t know what happens and maybe they are still somewhere in some form/engery, maybe they are part of the earth now, or maybe they are gone but in all cases they are at peace.
I have a 3 1/2 year old that often asks about them/where they are, (they died when he was 2ish and he remembers them). So that complicates it, I usually say they are in heaven wathing over him. It makes me feel really uncomfortable and weird but he’s too little to understand and I figure when he’s older he will decide for himself, And for now it makes him feel better.
I don’t really have advice other than I just try not to dwell on the sadness. It is what it is.
Post # 7
@GrannyPantiesRock: Godless heathen here! (ps – awesome user name!)
I haven’t yet had to deal with the loss of a close loved one, and I dread it. If it’s someone who has struggled with a long/painful illness, or something sudden and tragic, I just don’t really know how I would react. When I’m attending a wake or funeral service, I just hug the mourners.
My Fiance lost his uncle, who I adored, at a terribly young age. (early 40s) He left behind a wonderful wife and three children. I hugged his wife and we cried. Then I said, “there’s just nothing I can say.” She smiled at me and said, “no there isn’t.”
I wonder if I will have some sort of breakdown/public outburst if I lose a loved one and people try to comfort me with a religion I don’t ascribe to. I hope I can just take the comfort they are trying to provide at face value.
Post # 8
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
I try not to tell anyone anything about their dead loved one because there is nothing worse than hearing some BS about how they’re sorry (you didn’t know/love them) or they are better off now (not very comforting for me.)
Post # 9
@GrannyPantiesRock: I get how much that sucks. There are times that I like to think that there is a Heaven and its filled with all the stuff that the person who died loved most (kind of like “The Lovely Bones”) – and anyone who helped others and tried to be a good person would get in, regardless of religion or anything like that. I honestly don’t know what happens, but I doubt its that.
The rational side of me says that it is probably similar to that speech Mufasa gives Simba in “The Lion King” – you know, when lions die they become the grass and the antelope eat the grass and the whole “Circle of Life” thing. I don’t know how to eloquently state that for people though, so I’m not going to try.
I wish I could give you some comfort about your little one. I do know that the people who say those things most likely are only trying to help make you feel better. I doubt their intentions are bad. Sometimes people just don’t know what to say or how to react to a loss like this.
Post # 10
Godless heathen here too. I lost my Dad a little over 3 months ago. Thing is, he is still with me. He’s my snarky, smartass sense of humor. He’s my stubborn streak, my refusal to give up. He’s my squishy side that will sit out for hours on the deck so the chipmunks will eat out of my hand, and the birds aren’t scared of me. And lots more. That doesn’t go away when a person dies. The traits they passed on, the knowledge they gave, the influence on other people’s lives – that all lives on long after the body is gone.
Post # 11
My first reaction to your title was that I am not so sure that being religious makes it any better. People will say to you “oh, you’ll see them again in the afterlife” and all you want to do is to scream “**** you, what does that mean to me? I want them here NOW”. The stuff others say about heaven often seems contrite and smug, a way of fobbing you off, whether you are a believer or not. Just a way of getting you to shut up and **** off… a way of casually dismissing your grief.
Loss is always hard, and people will never understand it unless they have been through a similar thing. All I can suggest is looking at psychological ways of managing and understanding grief.
The following sites have some advice:
NB Not that it particularly matters, I think, but I am religious. Just FYI.
Post # 12
@ANGELaaimt: This is the worst loss I’ve ever had to deal with and to be honest, it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever wished that I believe in something. I know there will be greater tragedies in my lifetime, and it makes me question how I wll deal with those. My unlce was sort of picking on me for not going to chuch one time and he said, “There’s no atheists in foxholes.” I get that. I get how people turn to something greater than themselves when something horribe is happening to them. But where are you supposed to find comfort when you don’t believe? By praying?!!? At this point praying would feel like writing a letter to Santa.
Post # 13
@LoggerHead91207: Thank you. I know people have good intentions and it’s not that they make me mad. I’m just trying to find a tolerable way of dealing and thinking about this shit sandwhich I’ve been handed. I also hope that there’s a heaven, but doubt it. I’m with you on the circle of life thing. But sometimes I don’t want to be grass, ya know??
Post # 14
@MariContrary: 🙂 your post made me tear up. I’ve only lost a grandparent, but really struggle with how to remember them. Your post really helped, so thank you. I’m sorry for your loss.
Post # 15
@GrannyPantiesRock: so sorry for your loss, the cliche is true, there is no right way to deal with something and everyone deals with loss differntly.
There is no comfort that someone is still always with you somehow,
This I disagree with. They are there in your memory, in your mind, in your heart, the influences they had on you, etc. They are with you as much as you want them to be.
I don’t think religion is healthy in the sense that you dilude yourself into believing the deceased are somewhere better, it’s not a coping mechanism, it’s avoidance. It’s makebelieve and therefore you don’t hve to cope with reality.
I found it helps a lot to talk to people who’ve been in the same situation, since they can relate. I’m sure there are many forums on this topic that could be helpful
It is also ok to do whatever you need, if you want to cry all day, fine, scream, go for it, write pages and pages about how much life sucks, that works too, anything and don’t feel ashamed or think it’s not right.
Post # 16
@GrannyPantiesRock: I understand. Sometimes I don’t want to be grass either. And I don’t want the people I love to be grass. It sucks completely that life isn’t always fair and bad things happen to good people.
I find that thinking about the good times I had with the person I lost really helps me to cope and heal. Remembering how they were instead of what they may be now is easier for me; once the raw pain is gone I can start processing what may have actually happened to them after they died. The loss you have experienced is much more difficult to do that with though.
Are there any support groups for parents who have lost a child in your area? Speaking about it with people who have experienced a similar loss could be very helpful and healing for you. And do you know anyone (in real life) that you trust who also has doubts regarding religion that you could speak with? They may be able to help you find a way to process your emotions or view your loss in a way that helps you to heal.