Impending Death
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10-02-2016, 06:00 PM
Impending Death
I've been lucky enough to have never had anyone close to me die up until this point in my life, but my grandmother has been fighting ovarian cancer for over a year now--went into remission--had brain surgery--and now has mets in her bones and lungs which are inoperable. I've been told that she isn't doing very well at all and has very little time left (no clue really how long, but probably before the month is up).


I'm one of the only atheists in my family and since I've never lost anyone before, I'm a little at a loss of how to fully react to this. I live across the country from them and can't travel, but I sent her some really pretty flowers with a card saying something nice...? I just don't really know how to appropriately handle death. I'm still in shock that it's finally coming, so I know I won't feel a loss for long. Tears will very likely come at some point. I'm just a little subdued.


Any advice for deal with death for the first time, particularly without god? I've only been an atheist for about a year now, so I haven't really thought about this aspect of humanity yet: how to deal with someone in your life dying. Confused
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10-02-2016, 06:06 PM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2016 06:16 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Impending Death
(10-02-2016 06:00 PM)rosieisaposie Wrote:  I'm just a little subdued. ...
Any advice for deal with death for the first time, particularly without god? I've only been an atheist for about a year now, so I haven't really thought about this aspect of humanity yet: how to deal with someone in your life dying. Confused

I felt a deep sense of ... Consider ... resignation is the best word I can come up with.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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10-02-2016, 06:13 PM
RE: Impending Death
Allow yourself to be sad.
Remember the good times.
Allow yourself to cry.
Accept that loss like this takes time to get over.
Listen to yourself to find out how you handle words.
And lastly only take any advice if it feel natural for you to follow it. Don't force it.

*hug*
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10-02-2016, 06:31 PM
RE: Impending Death
(10-02-2016 06:00 PM)rosieisaposie Wrote:  I'm just a little subdued. ...
Any advice for deal with death for the first time, particularly without god? I've only been an atheist for about a year now, so I haven't really thought about this aspect of humanity yet: how to deal with someone in your life dying. Confused


Since she is not part of your daily life, you'll probably get to skip some of the grieving symptoms. You'll be sad and relive memories... don't be surprised if you start crying at odd times.

Any of the online flower shops can handle your flowers, or maybe you want to send a wreath. There are usually cards with content that is acceptable to both the atheists and the religious. Just poke around the online stores a bit, there are a lot of them. You can also write your own card content, and on a wreath you get to inscribe a band...

Damn, I know too much about all this. Sad

[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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10-02-2016, 06:48 PM
RE: Impending Death
Allow yourself the right to grieve and comfort yourself in whatever way works for you. And don't be surprised if it doesn't hit you right away, sometimes grief can be delayed for days or weeks.

Some of my coping mechanism are, crying, being really busy (chores), remembering times spent together, picture browsing.

I'm not very comfortable at letting people see me cry so I do that in my room by myself. That's just me, everyone is different. Just go at your own pace and don't try to force it.

Sorry for your impending loss.

[Image: dnw9krH.jpg?4]
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10-02-2016, 09:21 PM
RE: Impending Death
I'm sorry to hear that things are looking bad for her.

The biggest change for you as an atheist is the realization that you aren't going to reunite after death, and that's probably making things feel even worse. No way to get around the sadness, it's part of your love for her and the fact that you'll miss her. I wish there were a way to make it not hurt, but there doesn't seem to be such.

The only thing I can tell you is that usually, eventually, you will feel better. If you don't after several months, then talk to an expert (psychologist, etc.) to figure out why you're stuck in the grief.
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10-02-2016, 10:00 PM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2016 10:04 PM by Fatbaldhobbit.)
RE: Impending Death
I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother.

I'm sure this has been posted, but this really resonated with me when I first read it.

[Image: 1k5jx_zpscs5pe2bg.jpg]

Help for the living. Hope for the dead. ~ R.G. Ingersoll

Freedom offers opportunity. Opportunity confers responsibility. Responsibility to use the freedom we enjoy wisely, honestly and humanely. ~ Noam Chomsky
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10-02-2016, 10:29 PM
RE: Impending Death
(10-02-2016 10:00 PM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother.

I'm sure this has been posted, but this really resonated with me when I first read it.

[Image: 1k5jx_zpscs5pe2bg.jpg]

This reminds me of when my son was young and we lost one of our old dogs. He was old enough to know what death was but not really understand what happens when you die and also worried about it.

He helped his dad bury her in the pasture and when he came back he was sitting on the porch. I asked if he wanted to talk and he asked the expected question "what happens when you die". We talked about the cycle of life and how things die and are used to give other things life and so forth.

He still looked so forlorn and confused. He was always a very visual, hands-on kind of kid so I went in the house and came back with a glass of water. I handed him the glass, told him this was life and asked him to pour some of the water on the ground. He did. I said, this is what happens when you die. He poured the rest of the water on the ground and we watched it be absorbed. I asked him what had happened to the life. He looked at the ground and said "it changed". I said yes but is it gone? "No, just changed into something else." "Yes," I said "and now it provides nourishment for the grass and bugs or worms and things."

He smiled at me and said "Thanks, I get it now, nothing really goes away just changes." I said, "Exactly. The whole universe is constantly changing. Stars being born and dying, animals, people, plants. Dying and giving life back to the newly born. We can take comfort in the fact that nothing is ever lost or wasted." As a farm kid he understood this.

I have always thought of life and death like this.

[Image: dnw9krH.jpg?4]
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11-02-2016, 09:12 AM
RE: Impending Death
I am really sorry about the impending death of your grandmother. Maybe as a way to be involved, you could be an advocate for her and talk to your relatives who will be with her when she passes so that when she passes, it with dignity and without suffering. While you will still have the pain of the loss, at least you will have some comfort in knowing that you helped her pass like most of us would like to pass.
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12-02-2016, 08:27 AM
RE: Impending Death
Sorry to hear about this. These things are tough. I have had 3 deaths in the last year (grandmother, great uncle, uncle) and these were the first since I realized I was an atheist. It actually gave me comfort in a way that I never did have when I believed in the afterlife and a death occurred. If you're interested, the thread I wrote after the funeral is below. It hurts but I felt the finality of it was actually reassuring.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...st-weekend

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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