Dealing with a Loss
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04-02-2016, 04:35 PM
Dealing with a Loss
I'm dealing with a sudden death of a friend. I've been an out atheist for more than 10 years, yet I can feel the seductive pull to praying as an automatic response to growing up Catholic. It's a recognition that I am small and powerless in the face of LIFE. I'm facing the fragility of being human and how much I take for granted, how many I love you that go unsaid or unreturned. How self absorbed I am in my daily life to notice the joy of living and expressing my art and music and acting into the world and I paralyzed by the thought of failure I am. I'm rambling here, just trying to convey my thoughts in a community that won't give me tired platitudes of superstitious beliefs.

The person who died was a family friend who had just flown in to stay with my mother in Florida. They were close as sisters. She wasn't there a night before she fell and hit her head in the middle of the night. The next day she appeared to be fine before showing concussion symptoms. She was flown to Shan's Hospital in Gainesville, Fl where they discovered an aneurysm in her brain an performed surgery. She seemed to have made it out OK last night, but today she died asa result of swelling.

I'm heartbroken for my mom who is a really sensitive and caring person. They had plans for a month together and now her friend is gone. I'm feeling powerless to help in being in Chicago and not knowing what is currently going on. Dealing with the well of uncertainty right now. Hoping to hear a friendly connection from a fellow non- believer right now. Thanks.
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04-02-2016, 04:49 PM
RE: Dealing with a Loss
I am sorry this happened. Death sucks. For the survivors, that is.

We all react differently. You have the urge to pray because praying releases dopamine in your brain. So does jogging, eating chocolate, eating hot peppers, chanting, singing loudly and many other things.

You also have the urge to pray because you have no one to talk to - at least not totally honestly. When it comes to death, no one knows what to say because - well - nothing helps.

Your mom is going to grieve - the best thing you can do is to encourage her to just flow with it and not worry about what others say about how long she is allowed to grieve, how she should grieve and such. Grieving is very individual, it is heavily influenced by your personal chemical balance, and it can't be controlled. It is primarily a physical reaction, further complicated by our thoughts. So, the best thing to do for a grieving person is to encourage them to just flow with it.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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04-02-2016, 05:34 PM
RE: Dealing with a Loss
So sorry for your loss Hug

I think it is a very natural response to want to pray when you have been taught to pray as a way of dealing with grief. Who doesn't want to believe that there is something out there--something all powerful--that has your back. Praying is a way religious people deal with anxiety--it is a coping mechanism for life. As former religious people, we were taught that praying works. As a result, it is easy to fall back into all of that when we are overcome with grief.

I also think it's normal to want to put what you feel for the person into words and in that sense, I think praying helps. I heard about an ancient (I believe it was Chinese) tradition awhile back of writing a letter to the deceased. Put everything down you want to say in your letter. Go some place meaningful to you or to them and burn the letter and cast it off into the wind. It was the belief that the wind carried these ashes--this letter--to the spirit world. Obviously, that is a bit woo--but I think there are pieces you can use from it in your own grieving process. Writing the letter will help get your thoughts out there (as opposed to praying) and casting the ashes of the letter out to the wind is a symbolic way to say goodbye to the person. I personally kind of like this idea because it is a way of coping with the death of a loved one minus the praying. It's also a nice way for you to get out everything you wanted to say to the person but didn't for whatever reason. It might help in your own grieving process.

Death really sucks. I think we just need to hold on close to our loved ones and like you say don't let I love you's go unsaid or stupid fights keep you apart because none of us know when our last breath will be.
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04-02-2016, 06:04 PM
RE: Dealing with a Loss
(04-02-2016 04:35 PM)ChicagoMJ Wrote:  I'm dealing with a sudden death of a friend. I've been an out atheist for more than 10 years, yet I can feel the seductive pull to praying as an automatic response to growing up Catholic. It's a recognition that I am small and powerless in the face of LIFE. I'm facing the fragility of being human and how much I take for granted, how many I love you that go unsaid or unreturned. How self absorbed I am in my daily life to notice the joy of living and expressing my art and music and acting into the world and I paralyzed by the thought of failure I am.

I'm sorry for your loss, MJ.

I don't think there's anything wrong with what I call "talking to the Universe", and some folks want to label that "praying". It isn't, it's just me venting emotions and expressing desires, knowing fully well that there's no guy upstairs doing a damned thing about my words.

You're right to pay attention to the fact that we take so much for granted, and equally right in thinking that you should address that with your daily actions. We are all small in the face of reality, but we can take steps, each and every day, to let those whom we love and cherish to know that. It makes the world a better place the more that happens. Smile
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04-02-2016, 09:57 PM
RE: Dealing with a Loss
Hug

Sorry for your loss.
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04-02-2016, 10:02 PM
RE: Dealing with a Loss
So sorry for your loss. Sad

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04-02-2016, 10:30 PM
RE: Dealing with a Loss
My condolences.

Nothing but time and closeness with others helps in these kinds of situations. I hope you and your mother can find that comfort and support. I wish there was something more we could do. Again, I'm sorry for your loss.

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