The First Death
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06-10-2014, 11:05 PM
The First Death
First, I'm not looking for sympathy or a shoulder to cry on. I simply wish for the advice and support I can't get from the people around me. I assumed this would be the most logical place to find it.

Tonight my grandmother passed. It was sudden. She had a massive heart attack or stroke, the medics are unsure of which. All that they know is she went quickly. She and my grandfather were having a peaceful evening at home. He asked her a question, she didn't answer. It looked like she was asleep, he tried to wake her but she didn't wake up, she was gone. Just that quick, here one moment and gone the next. I spoke to her yesterday, she was happy and laughing. Very unexpected, a shock to all the family.

My husband and I are both atheist. His job takes him from home for two weeks at a time. He will not be back until Thursday. I know he understands, and he will be here for support when he can be. I'm thankful for that. My mother and father both know that I'm an atheist and are supportive. They are very good about not saying the religious clichés (she's in a better place) but my sister and other family members aren't so supportive. I'm trying to be nice, and respect their way of grieving but it makes me very angry. An anger that I'm afraid will make me say something hurtful or inappropriate. How should I tell them that their words are doing more harm than good, without being a huge ass about it or being insensitive?

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06-10-2014, 11:24 PM
RE: The First Death
Tough one. Depends what they're saying. For me, I'd just let it slide and realise that because they're grieving they may not have good judgment at this time - ordinarily they might be more sensitive. My sister died a few years ago and ja, it was hard not to lash out when the people told me stuff like "It's all in God's plan" and "God wanted another angel" and "She's looking down on us from heaven and she's happy now" - she herself was not religious.

The thing is, I think that somewhat they really do believe these ridiculous platitudes that they tell us, and somewhat they say these things to comfort themselves - death is scary. When confronted with it, even the religious, I think, have their faith shaken to a degree. So to make everything nice again and to make the fear go away they become even *more* fervent in their declarations of faith - it's more to convince themselves. Hence also why questioning their declarations of faith tends to draw a disproportionate reaction - you're taking away the security blanket.

If you can stand it, my advice is to bear with it, or maybe just explain calmly that it hurts when people say that kind of thing because you don't believe it to be true, but be prepared for people to get angry in response, no matter how mildly you try to put it. (This based on my experience, perhaps you will have better luck).

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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07-10-2014, 05:56 AM
RE: The First Death
"How should I tell them that their words are doing more harm than good, ..."

Who are their words harming?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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07-10-2014, 03:57 PM
RE: The First Death
(07-10-2014 05:56 AM)Chas Wrote:  "How should I tell them that their words are doing more harm than good, ..."

Who are their words harming?

It's not a comforting thought to think she's in heaven or anything similar. In a way, I wish I could believe in heaven or an afterlife. That I will see her again. I don't think that's going to happen. I think we just die and that's the end of us. So when someone tells me, 'you'll see her again' or 'God needed her more' that makes me angry. It's harmful because I don't need to be angry with people I care about.

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07-10-2014, 04:02 PM
RE: The First Death
(06-10-2014 11:24 PM)morondog Wrote:  If you can stand it, my advice is to bear with it, or maybe just explain calmly that it hurts when people say that kind of thing because you don't believe it to be true, but be prepared for people to get angry in response, no matter how mildly you try to put it. (This based on my experience, perhaps you will have better luck).

Thank you, I think I will keep it to myself and talk to the people that understand my lack of belief. Thankfully, I still have people I can vent to.

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08-10-2014, 06:49 AM
The First Death
I'm not an atheist although I don't believe in god of the books I just know there is something greater than me deepak chopra calls god the evolutionary impulse of the universe and that's what I believe I too don't believe in heaven and hell but people believe in it out of fear I respect all ideologies and beliefs although I don't have an affiliation with one. When my aunt who raised me died everyone said she was in heaven I didn't express how I felt because everyone has the right to believe what they want. I just believe she is not here anymore where the place is wether it's lights out or dead or energy back into the universe I keep my views to myself as people are too close minded and gives the comfort to believe others are in heaven although the idea of heaven seems like the biggest fairy tale I ever heard
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08-10-2014, 08:13 AM
RE: The First Death
(06-10-2014 11:05 PM)OFTwify Wrote:  First, I'm not looking for sympathy or a shoulder to cry on. I simply wish for the advice and support I can't get from the people around me. I assumed this would be the most logical place to find it.

Tonight my grandmother passed. It was sudden. She had a massive heart attack or stroke, the medics are unsure of which. All that they know is she went quickly. She and my grandfather were having a peaceful evening at home. He asked her a question, she didn't answer. It looked like she was asleep, he tried to wake her but she didn't wake up, she was gone. Just that quick, here one moment and gone the next. I spoke to her yesterday, she was happy and laughing. Very unexpected, a shock to all the family.

My husband and I are both atheist. His job takes him from home for two weeks at a time. He will not be back until Thursday. I know he understands, and he will be here for support when he can be. I'm thankful for that. My mother and father both know that I'm an atheist and are supportive. They are very good about not saying the religious clichés (she's in a better place) but my sister and other family members aren't so supportive. I'm trying to be nice, and respect their way of grieving but it makes me very angry. An anger that I'm afraid will make me say something hurtful or inappropriate. How should I tell them that their words are doing more harm than good, without being a huge ass about it or being insensitive?

This conundrum is what brought me here initially when my husband died.

Anger is part of grieving, so be aware that your anger is likely exaggerated at this time.

I ended up just avoiding people spouting this stuff as best I could. They mean well. They don't understand in the least that they are evoking anger, and they would not understand why at all.

If you say something they will be really hurt and you might destroy those relationships forever.

If it was me, I would try to remove myself from these situations as much as possible, and constantly remind myself that my anger is founded in grief and keep it at bay that way.

Sorry you have to deal with this crap, it can be so maddening. At least you can look forward to your husband's return and support...

[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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08-10-2014, 08:55 AM
RE: The First Death
(07-10-2014 03:57 PM)OFTwify Wrote:  
(07-10-2014 05:56 AM)Chas Wrote:  "How should I tell them that their words are doing more harm than good, ..."

Who are their words harming?

It's not a comforting thought to think she's in heaven or anything similar. In a way, I wish I could believe in heaven or an afterlife. That I will see her again. I don't think that's going to happen. I think we just die and that's the end of us. So when someone tells me, 'you'll see her again' or 'God needed her more' that makes me angry. It's harmful because I don't need to be angry with people I care about.

Ok, hurtful to you. Thanks for clarifying.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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10-10-2014, 01:41 PM
RE: The First Death
People can say really insensitive, stupid things when people die. When someone you love dies, you're hypersensitive as well. And that's ok. Its normal to be angry - want to rage about it? Go ahead. Want to bitch about stupid stuff Christians say to you - this is a great place to do that. It's ok to be mad - you just lost someone you care about, everything was fine and normal, until suddenly it wasn't. Like Dom said, there are many stages to grief, and anger is one of them. Want to be annoyed that I'm repeating stuff you may already know? Ok.

For the most part, when people say insensitive stupid shit to you, try and let it go in one ear and out the other. Ignore it, pretend like they didn't even say it.

Saying things like "they're looking down on you from heaven" or "I bet she's getting a kick out of XYZ" is not meant to be offensive, but to be comforting. Much of things said along those lines are well intentioned and meant to provide comfort. Try and take that for what it is, I don't think they're trying to be hurtful.

Saying things like "well she was a baptist, and didn't go to the church of Christ so it's a shame she's burning in hell. Let's get you right with god so you don't burn with her, too" also "good intentioned" from their point of view but ignorant as fuck, offensive, and makes you want to smack the person. Try saying something like "talking about my loved one burning in hell is not really helping, thanks for concern" dismiss them and move on.

I've lost a lot of people in my life, and I've lost even more patients. I've seen a lot of death and dying. Everyone handles it differently. It's ok to rage, it's ok to cry. Remember the good times and you'll pull through. For me it helps to talk about them and share fun memories at family get togethers. It helps a tiny bit to fill the void of their empty chair.

Sorry for your loss.

"If there's a single thing that life teaches us, it's that wishing doesn't make it so." - Lev Grossman
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12-10-2014, 06:18 PM
RE: The First Death
"God needed her more" That's rather selfish, tearing a family apart. Don't these people even think about that? It's ok that grandma dies as long as it's god taking her but anyone else and it would be murder.
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