So, I’m new here and my first post is about grief and atheism.
(Excuse my bad English, not native speaker)
A week ago I lost my beloved younger sister. Now I’m all alone and it’s extremely painful to think that I won’t see her again. What brings me peace is all the memories I have of our childhood, teenage, young and adult life.
The thing is, all my family and friends are Christians or believers in whatever.
They offered me comfort speaking religious stuff like: you’ll see her again in heaven, she’s in a better place, it was god’s will, blah blah
But what made me mad was when they started their gospel trying to convince me to “return to God” and even told me that God took away my sister from us because he is “calling you”
Not only I felt angry but hurt watching the level of jerks…
Now I don’t want to talk to them anymore. But i ended all alone as there’s no one to talk. Btw, my sister was also atheists (but not openly as me) so I lost not only my bestfriend from childhood but the only person in my life with whom I can talk openly about tha things that are supposed to not be spoken.
And I’m just thinking how shit is to be a believer. How shit is to not have empathy to understand that a person who doesn’t believe in god don’t need your religious shit but company and support, and that’s all.
Still I cannot start my grief process because I feel so hurt and angry…
So, I’m new here and my first post is about grief and atheism.
I sure hope you lurked a bit before you joined. I also hope you like honesty.
You’ve recently lost a younger sister and friend (close) and you are starting your grieving process - anger. The funeral gave you lots of good reason to be angry.
Ironically - you had the gift of knowing her on a level they did not. She shared with you her true self and true thoughts, knowing she would still be loved and accepted. That is honest. And in return she accepted and loved you for you.
There is a serious secret to life that you are actually discovering. You are alone. You have always been alone. Friendships with others, relations, marriages, even enemies only serve to help you ignore the fact that you are alone. Not a single soul is inside that body with you. Not a single person is sharing your thoughts, your emotions, or your deepest emotions. When you feel loved, it is not the love of another person you feel but the feeling of love is generated by your own brain and body in reaction to the other. Sometimes that feeling of love that you actually generate is justified and at other times, well… it’s stalking.
I want you to consider, this is not a negative thing. It is an extremely positive thing. To understand that you are alone is to appreciate your sister even more. To appreciate her for comforting the feeling of lonliness within you. For making you feel less alone. Even for allowing you to forget that you really and factually are, truely alone in this world.
Understanding people are alone; that parents die, spouses die, friends move on, people move on, children catch horrible diseases, friends die, life changes, you move on, and that everything is in a state of constant flux, allows one to see the world as it is. I am alone. You are alone. We visit this site to feel less alone.
How amazing, how remarkable, how fantastic, how valuable, is the relationship that makes you forget you are alone? Understanding that you are alone is the base for genuinly appreciating a friendship. I want to say this as delicately as possible… as I don’t want to stirr up any negative emotions but we really don’t know how much we appreciate others until they are gone. (I am speaking metaphorically - not accusing you of being insensitive. It’s just that when they are no longer around, we tend to recall so much more about them and so many more ways we liked them and enjoyed their company. They occupy our minds more.)
So, you are ‘feeling alone’ once again. This is very different than ‘Being alone.’ Perhaps you have not felt alone in a long long time. Perhaps it is a feeling you have tried to ignore most of your life. But you are correct, “You are alone.” It’s not the same thing as 'feeling alone."
“I feel alone,” is a very interesting idea. The “I” is the center of the 'ego." The identity of the self. So, “The self identity feels alone.” I actually like this idea and agree with it to some degree. You identified your self as a “brother,” a “friend,” a “protector” and probably a lot more. All that is a part of your identity. All that is a part of who you are as a person. All that is now (changed). It has all been shifted from and “is” to a “was.” The short, crude version of this is that a part of you has passed on with your sister. A part of you is also gone. Your world has been significantly altered. This is a life altering event.
Okay, so whether or not you buy into my psychobabble bullshit… what would you tell your best friend if he came up to you and told you the same thing you just told us? (Look dude, take it easy for a while. Don’t make any big decisions. Get a lot of rest and try to eat right and take care of yourself. You have to be your own parent and take care of yourself in a situation like this. Don’t forget to exercise and stay healthy even if you have to force yourself. And hey, if you need an ear or someone to talk to, well, we are here… Don’t hesitate to call…)
There aren’t any fucking right ansers and that is why the Christians have been getting away with their bullshit for thousands of years. Just hang in there. Things do get better and millions of people who have survived similar situations attest to this fact.
@Jazz13 I am so sorry, the pain of loss can be crippling. But ask yourself, what would she want? That you wallow in misery or go out and smell the flowers, feel the breeze in your face, and the sunshine?
Your sister would want you to never forget her, but pick up your life again and live it with a smile on your face.
I lost my mother a few years ago and what gave me solace was the memories. I cherished them at that time, I appreciated her company at that time. I treated her well at that time because I believe there is no afterlife.
I’m sorry to hear this is happening to you. Dealing with the loss of a love one is something that virtually every human experiences, so you’re not alone in that. That someone tries to use this loss as an excuse to preach their religion is unkind and very unhelpful. I know it’s hard to believe now, but the pain will become less sharp with time. It’s good to seek out others of like mind and I hope you’re able to do so in real life.
@Jazz13 This is not the time of ranger, and in my opinion, not worthy of any directed to those who said such crap. They too are struggling to reconcile this loss, and falling back on their comfort blanket of religion is what they do. They utter what makes them feel good, most are truly trying to be of assistance. They are not thinking, they are not putting themselves in your shoes.
Be better than they are. Show them that an atheist is strong and although as devastated by this loss, will recover to enjoy this life as your sister hoped you would.
Hello @Jazz13, welcome to AR, and I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Sadly grief is a process, and the sense of loss can be overwhelming. I’m glad at least you can find some solace from the memories of the things you shared with your sister, and what she meant to you. You can post how you feel here anyway, and at least you won’t get religious platitudes in response.
Actually yes. When they started to say that will pray for me I was like: ok whatever. After all, i knee they’ll say things like that trying to comfort me
But when they tried to convince me that this is god’s calling and I’m supposed now to surrender myself to God, I couldn’t handle it
I cannot understand what exactly makes another human being to take advantage of another’s pain to sell their religion or belief. Is like me as atheists ssay to anyone in grief: “oh come on, that’s all, there’s no heaven and now you must understand that death is the end of the life, and will happen to you and me too. That’s life” instead to just give my condolences and emotional support.
Anyway, thank you for empathize with me and for your words.
Feeling lil bit better
Yes, not getting the religious stuff when I’m struggling with this much pain is something that I’m glad for
Me and my sis knew there’s no afterlife, so we lived to the full in the only one we had.
Specifically in our sister relationship, we were very mindful and we loved each other a lot.
That’s painful because it’s over, but also is the fuel that I’m planing to use for my life now.
But first I have to deal with the pain of missing her.
I just need some time to process all (btw her death was “a surprise”, so sudden that was shocking) and then will rise again
Thank you for your words, i appreciate them.
It’s worth remembering there are no rules about how we deal with grief, and nobody gets to tell us what we should feel or think. Take your own time to come to terms with it, in a way that is best for you, and try and ignore well meaning people who think they know better than you about what you need and when. If they’re not well meaning, and are simply trying to exploit the situation to peddle their superstitious wares, then tell them no thanks, or whatever wording you feel is apropos.
I’m glad to hear you’re feeling a little better. Atheist can find some comfort. We’ll never be tormented thinking a loved one didn’t measure up and is suffering some eternal torture. There’s also the Law of Conservation. Basically:" Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed". And there’s Carl Sagan’s assertion: “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” So we’re all recyclable Star Stuff .
Hi Jazz and welcome to AR. This a good place with many kind and accepting people.
I’m sorry for your loss. Have not suffered the loss of a sibling, and hopefully won’t as I’m the eldest.
Of course I’ve experienced crippling loss, from divorce and from death. Pointless to say I empathise because your grief is your own.
In my experience, the grief of a major loss never goes away completely, I’ve just learned to live with it.
Only advice I’ll give is not to listen to anyone about how long you should grieve. It takes as long as it takes, but the visceral grief you are feeling will ease, I promise…
Awesome way to see the death. After some days I’m feeling lil bit better, able to slowly return to my normal life, I hope.
Thank you for your words, helped me a lot
You saiid it right: visceral grief is exactly what I feel the most of the time
Glad it will go, sometimes I cannot control myself but I think I must be patient with myself.
Thanks for your words