Attending my mother's Christian funeral
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10-11-2013, 07:56 PM
Attending my mother's Christian funeral
My mother died on Saturday after a long bout with Alzheimer's. I'm going to attend her memorial service next Saturday back in my home town. I've already been swamped with the "I'm praying for you" and "She's in a better place now" messages via email and Facebook. I know that my *very* Christian relatives and old friends will be wanting to console me with their stories of how she is now fully restored and singing songs with Jesus in heaven. They will mean well and will fully believe they are helping me through my grief. I'm not sure how to respond. This memorial service isn't about me. It's about my mother and I think that challenging or questioning any of the delusional rhetoric will cause hurt feelings and resentment. I particularly don't want to bring any more pain to my father at this time. At the same time, it is painful for me to remain silent at times like this. I suppose I'm looking for some advice and maybe some reassurance that my head is on straight.
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10-11-2013, 08:15 PM (This post was last modified: 11-11-2013 08:51 AM by Anjele.)
RE: Attending my mother's Christian funeral
Hi TH,
I am sorry to hear about the loss.

This topic has come up several times here and the consensus seems to be that this is not the time to deal with religious differences. Though it will be annoying at times, you will be there to honor the memory of your mother and help to support other that are feeling the loss.

Some comments are terribly insensitive but seldom meant that way. People are at a loss for what to say and do, so they resort to platitudes. Be grateful that people care.

If someone really decides to get their preach on at you, excuse yourself to the restroom or to get a breath of fresh air.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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10-11-2013, 08:28 PM
RE: Attending my mother's Christian funeral
^^ Wot Anj said.

Also, steer conversations away from the supernatural towards the natural...

Nervous, 'not sure what to say' theist, says "She's in a better place..."
You: "Talking of better places, do you remember that one time when she took us to ..."

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10-11-2013, 08:42 PM
RE: Attending my mother's Christian funeral
DLJ and Anj hit the nail on the head. Simply re-direct the conversation to a memory...My grandfather had a funeral like this (he was a non-believer as well) and he stipulated in his will that he wanted a "Remembrance of Life" ceremony, where everyone shared their favorite memory of him, rather than a funeral. Try to think of it this way, it's how I got through the annoying well-wishers.

Shock And Awe Tactics-- The "application of massive or overwhelming force" to "disarm, incapacitate, or render the enemy impotent with as few casualties to ourselves and to noncombatants as possible"
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10-11-2013, 08:46 PM
RE: Attending my mother's Christian funeral
Yep its hard, focus on the real stories and thank people for their kindness.

I'm deeply sorry for your loss.


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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10-11-2013, 08:47 PM
RE: Attending my mother's Christian funeral
Agree with all the above. Take your Dick Tracy decoder ring to church .. when they say "Jesus" and "god" .. instant translate to "the best that is in her/you/us". "Heaven" means they're at peace, and died surrounded by people who loved her". That's all they mean these days, for the most part. Just say "thanks, your concern means a lot to me, and I know how much she loved you."

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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11-11-2013, 02:19 AM
RE: Attending my mother's Christian funeral
First of all I'm so sorry for your loss. I think you're right in saying it's about honouring the memory of your mother and not a platform for rejecting or debating points. I don't know how widely known your atheism is known among the Christians you're expecting to see, but you obviously believe them to be sincere in their way of comforting.

My advice would be to, even though you may disagree with the sentiments, accept their 'my prayers are with you' and speaking of heaven as their sincere way of showing sympathy.Feel free to internally translate it to 'my thoughts are with you.' Thank them for their kind thoughts and then move to talking about memories.
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11-11-2013, 08:20 AM
RE: Attending my mother's Christian funeral
I'm very sorry for your loss.

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
David Hume
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11-11-2013, 08:47 AM
RE: Attending my mother's Christian funeral
Sorry for your loss.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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13-11-2013, 04:24 PM
RE: Attending my mother's Christian funeral
Thank you all for your kind words and advice. Because of my parents' failing health, I am still in the atheist closet. I think I will probably be confronted with at least one opportunity to "join hands in prayer" and I plan to play along as long as they don't ask me to speak. For years I have avoided any kind of religious discussions around my family so I'm pretty sure they know something is different with me. But, for this weekend's memorial service, I see no reason to take anything away from my mother's memory or to add to my father's grief. I'll grin and bear it. Thanks again for the help. It was nice having someone to talk to.
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