I must admit I am extremely appreciative that on this forum I have been able to vent about my grief of losing Vincent without being flooded by prayers and God statements, and people trying to make me convert. Vincent's family gave him a mostly mormon funeral. I paid for the military portion of it, as I did honor guard when I was a soldier and knew how to go about getting him a military burial. But I ended up fighting with his family after the funeral services because they kept telling me that unless I converted to Mormonism, I wouldn't be reunited with Vincent. And so on and so forth. Even though I knew from Vincent's own mouth that he didnt believe. His family still reaches out and tries to convert me every few months. So I am just grateful that this forum exists. That I can hurt, and grieve, and be honest about it, and not just end up even more upset. I hate the bullshit lines about God needing an angel, and he is at peace now, and blah blah blahnik. Vincent stopped going and believing because as a light skinned black man he knew and understood that just a few decades before, he wouldn't have been allowed in that church. And he felt the church and their answers couldn't justify why in a manner that didnt compromise the integrity of their words. I cried horribly at the service because it felt like none of them knew him. The real him.
Laid an old friend to rest last week, non religious and no one mentioned god that I'm aware of. Music was her favorite tracks ending with a dance/rave song. Some of the girls were braving it to try and dance for our fallen friend. What she wanted. So i Did the unthinkable, I shouted OY OY at the top of my voice and in seconds half the large crowd were dancing including on the pews. The staff were really great, they immediately whacked the sound right up. We raved the Crematorium
ah, the dichotomy of religion, where you love someone enough to want to believe in all the hub bub about god and afterlife, but you don't respect them enough to back off from the dogma when they refuse to drink the cool aid.
It doesn't sound like his family are bad people - but it does sound like they didn't really know him (or you), just the versions of each of you they have in their minds. So it's the double edged sword of wanting, even needing to stay connected, and being reminded of their lack of knowledge of him each time.
I wish there were an easy answer, but there never is in these situations. Living here in the Deep South, I feel outnumbered every day, and pick my times to speak out very carefully - even where family is concerned. My own mother, whom I love very much, thinks I am a very religious man, because of how I live my life. She can't imagine how anyone could be agnostic, (or anything except southern baptist) and still be a good person. So I decided long ago that I would used my words carefully, and allow her to keep that image of what she thinks I am in her head, simply for her own benefit. While that is a part of me she does not know - and could never accept if she did know - that doesn't mean she does not know me.
So maybe the same can be said for Vincent's family; to not think that they didn't really know him, but that there was a part of him they didn't see (or couldn't accept) yet they still love him. There is something to be said for that, and a lot to be said that, even now, they still reach out to you - even if conversion to Mormonism is on their mind, you were on their mind as well - as someone they love.
I hope that these thoughts can bring you at least a little solace.
I hope you reach a place of peace sooner rather than later, but you do have to go through the grieving process in order to get there, so grieve, remember Vincent as you knew him and don't forget to take care of yourself along the way. I don't know you but from one human to another, I am glad that you are able to find some comfort with the folks here on this site.
April, I'm glad that we and this site could be here for you in some capacity. I'm so sorry for your loss. Losing someone you dearly loved to suicide is bad enough, but to have to deal with the religious rhetoric and repercussions that follow represents the worst of nightmares. I can relate to a lot of what you shared.
At age 29, my late husband committed suicide. I was home at the time and thought he was going to take a nap. He had been experiencing complications from a traumatic brain injury, but his family and the family minister believed he had demons and should go through a "deliverance." In his fragile state of mind, this sent him over the edge. To make matters worse, the minister and a few members from the church visited me a couple of weeks after the funeral to inform me of their concerns -- that a "suicidal spirit" had likely come upon me and my infant daughter at the time of his death. Other's said he was likely going to hell because he "murdered himself."
I understand that death anxiety can make people behave in strange ways. Though well-meaning, I don't care to hear excuses that people's belief system and the insensitive things they said was their way of dealing with life and death. If anything, they were responsible for my partner's death and intensifying and extending my grief. I wished there had been a site like this when I lost my partner.
Vincent was so fortunate to have you in his life, April, having the opportunity to be truly known and loved by you. It's clear to me that you felt the same way about him. I read your other post last night, but I was at a loss for words at the time. You are courageous to share so personally. If you ever want to talk, either by phone, email or chat, I'm here for you.
That's a tough row to hoe, April ... as others have suggested, it's admirable that they have enough honor for you as Vincent's significant other that they try to reach out to you, even in a misguided way. But that you don't share the same understanding of the "real Vincent" makes that hard to bear. All we can do is bear witness to that pain, and offer our understanding and empathy. You can vent here all you need to, kiddo. We've got your back, and we'll listen.
Thank you for sharing something so personal, and painful. I think Vincent's family THINK they are being helpful and coming from a good place (from their perspective). My suggestion is to thank them for their concern and just carry on. You know their belief system is partially a shield against truly dealing with the actual loss of a human life. An avoidance mechanism. As nonbelievers, we KNOW when you're dead, you're dead. For that reason, we cherish life more than any believer ever could.
And you're already one of us, so we don't need to convert you. =]
I'm sorry for your loss and I can tell by your writings that they really did not know him. Will you be reunited with Vincent later? Absolutely nobody can answer that question for you and it has nothing to do with Mormons or Baptists. Take the time that you need and do not let anyone bully you.
Morn as long you need to. Do not lose sight that Life is for the Living. Live for him if you have to, live about him if you need to but... This is Your Life... Never forget. I remember being in the same car with my sister from DC to NYC on the way to her husband service and carrying the ashes listening 2 fucking songs over and over and over... one was about envying god for having a new angel.... I did not attended the service... I told her "I already did his service for 3 hours in the road listening 2 stupid songs, over and over and over". I never been into ceremonies really. To the point I didn't wanted one on my Retirement from 20 years in the Navy but my Boss convinced me... telling me is not about you... is about them... your co-workers in this Joint Command DISA EUROPE in Germany. Once the presedence is set of saying no... you taking away from your mates their Half the Day Off to Celebrate you, the Food, the Drinking, The Party. Do it for those that will like to have one. So I did... will like my ashes to the wind in the Caribbean Sea, no ceremony other than wind. The religious may know him but will still act like that disregarding what they know... because is what religion do... they will follow the script. Now your script in life as you knew it has a new chapter not there before... but do not lose that life needs to be about you first and take it from there. Good Luck and Peace to you.
They obviously didn't know Vincent so don't let them punk you. LDS are sensitive for their own, not for anyone else's, so you need not worry about their feelings. Tell them to leave you alone or develop pat answers that will make them stop hurting you. I'm currently toying with "Your God is a delusional psychotic who's brutality knows zero bounds. Your God has it that everything is food for something else, mating is often deadly, so obviously holds no value for life. Thou told Jews to kill EVERYONE in Jericho, and did so Thyself with a flood. Those examples included pregnant women so get off this fetus fetish. I wouldn't want to worship such a being for a moment, let alone eternity, so relish where I'll go if you're right."
I'm sorry for your lose. I hope it gets better soon for you. At one time I considered joining the mormon cult. I'm glad I avoided that mistake. It might have haughted me for me for rest of my life. Plus, I hope those people don't bother you any more. Clearly they are wasting there time.
None of us know the "real" us, sometimes not even us. It take a long time and even that changes. It is sad when people won't leave one alone with ones own grief. You don't need that, you have enough on your plate without having to put up with their stuff.
@AprilLynn -- Grief and the human need to go through it is not unique to any group of people or any set of magical notions. We all need to do it when we lose at any level and it is especially critical when the loss involves loved ones or those who have been close. I sincerely hope you are finding your way through this without suffering too much at the hands of the insensitive church folk.
Now, about Mormons (the second 'm' is silent) and their rotten approach to such issues. You probably know about their genealogy business, but you may not be aware that they have made it a habit to posthumously baptize (convert) people. This came to light and became quite an issue when it was discovered they were 'converting' holocaust victims.