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A friend from my bi-weekly atheist ladies Sunday brunch passed away this morning. She found out she was stage 4 liver cancer about five weeks ago. She decided against fighting and decided upon palliative care only. She waited for her son to visit her, and then she doubled her morphine. She was about 78 years old, intellectually sharp as a tack, and a staunch atheist. I just had a chat with another brunch friend about the clear decision making our friend endeavored upon. She took control of her care, and we believe, her death also. Suffering was not in my friend's plan. Questions arose during our talk on the phone - Did her atheism play a role in her decision to take control over her own death? Had she been a religious person, would she have opted to suffer until the cancer killed her? Your thoughts please. We concluded that hetr atheism may have made it easier to decide to take control and leave the world on her terms. I'm feeling sad btw

By LilAtheistLady7
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Sorry about your loss. I think, knowing that you won't get punished in any afterlife because you chose to end your life could make it an easier decision. On the other hand knowing that there is nothing on the other side of death could make it something to fight for at any cost. Either way I think being an atheist let's us make an informed decision.

Doraz Level 7 Aug 27, 2018

my condolences. sounds like she knew what she was doing and was ok with it.

SeeCanU Level 7 Aug 27, 2018

I'm sorry for your loss, and very impressed by your friend. That is the way I want to go, I think she made the best choices for her. I don't think her faith or lack thereof influenced her decision. I think she looked at the reality, opted for quality of life and made those decisions.


Remember her w smiles . I am sorry for your loss . I think been an atheist made it easier to take control of her ending . Although I don't understand y so many religious folks when near death and after receiving similar news as your friend , they do anything possible TO NOT MEET their lord and master and all that . If the after life w Jesus for example is the best thing ever , then y not let it be when terminal ill and fighting like mad men / women instead . I hope the good memories of your friend to warm your heart and mind often .

Pralina1 Level 8 Aug 27, 2018

There was an article I read some months back that had concluded that the religious were less likely to accept death & pursued extreme life prolonging measures compared to the non religious. I hppe to retain control over my transit to the great compost heap. Being a member of the Hemlock Society prior to its name change, I began in the '60's educating myself on this subject even going to far as to collect an euthanasia pack from various medications. Now I will merely go to Swizterland.

Mooolah Level 8 Aug 27, 2018

Why Switzerland ? I love your comment ' great compost heap. ' hilarious, I may borrow it for myself. We compost here in our garden.

@FlaGoldenGirl Euthanasia is legal in Switzerland. Thanks for the compliment.


My late partner opted for the Death with Dignity program which is legal in only 6 states (New Mexico is not one of them). I initiated a long discussion on this topic as it may affect many of us. There is a group [] which is important for all of us. Here is a letter I wrote and posted to this site. This may be a replay of a previous discussion but more need to know about it. In the article click on the link for a shocking NPR expo-see.


Excellent letter. My boss and I were talking about NM's stance on the matter. Apparently they do not allow death with dignity rights, but even worse the state has deemed it illegal to travel to another state that DOES have death with dignity rights. Outrageous and appalling!

@LilAtheistLady Of course you know this is religions doing. Unfortunately, most states DwD are for citizens only. Switzerland has a euthanasia program for outsiders and recently a famous scientist who was 105 took advantage of the program. I did a posting on this.


I think that is and should be a personal decision.

Buddha Level 7 Aug 27, 2018

Of course her atheism played a major role in her decision. It gave her the strength and courage to act as she did. Further, her atheism enabled her to see that she had choices, and that she -- and she alone -- should make decisions about her life and death

wordywalt Level 8 Aug 27, 2018

I can not add to the good observations of the others, I can only add my condolences and keep her in your memory.

oldFloyd Level 7 Aug 27, 2018

Thank you for sharing this. Sending love to you and the families involved. I will be making similar decisions if it comes to that, one day. Fortunately my parents were very minimalist when it came to their deaths, with everything planned in advance, including no services, no prayers. My mother elected a similar path when her lung cancer advanced. She died peacefully, medicated, in her own home, with me holding her hand. She went her way. I was sad but inspired.

poetdi56 Level 7 Aug 27, 2018

I am sorry for the loss of such a wonderful person. I am infinitely impressed by her strength, lack of indecision, and character.

I wish I had known her.
I hope I can be like her.


My condolences ?.. I also would make the same decision to take control of my death and would respect any decision any love ones would make on behalf of their own life/death ✌??


I'm so sorry for your loss! She sounds like she was a great lady. Liver cancer isn't easily cured so I'm sure she did the right thing.

Carin Level 8 Aug 27, 2018

I am afraid that without having known her, i cannot speculate about how her atheism helped her to make the decisions she made. it's certainly possible. i myself am about to find out (in a couple weeks) whether or not i have uterine cancer, so i might have to make a decision like, or unlike, that made by your friend. i do not know what i will decide if i must indeed decide. i am sorry for your loss and your sadness.


genessa Level 8 Sep 2, 2018

Im sorry to hear of your health worries. I hope it all works out. :/

  • I recently lost a good friend too , my high school g.f. We are both 80 this year . I understand your sadness. A couple years back I lost another life time friend, my boyfriend in the '70 's when we were young and danced and dined and traveled and I am sad for his loss too. He was 86. Time passes and so do we all, sooner or later. *

I'm sorry for your loss. Be glad that you had a change to know her.



GuyKeith Level 8 Aug 27, 2018

I work at a hospital, and I see often people making the wrong decisions. They don't seem to understand reality in this situation. I'm very glad your friend understood her situation and took control as much as she could. I'm so so sorry about your involvement and sadness. I hope that you will find the good memories soon. She sounds like a smart and good person.

Livinlife Level 9 Aug 27, 2018

Kudos to your friend, and my condolences to you. That's the way I am going to die, if all goes as planned.....

zblaze Level 7 Aug 27, 2018

You have my condolences about your friend, I hope your sadness ends soon and the memories will be joyful ones. I admire the way your friend chose to exit this life. I've told my relatives numerous times that my smoking won't be what kills me, I don't think they have a clue as to what I mean.
My answer to your question as best I can, my Dad made the decision to forgo medical treatment to extend his life and he was a very religious person. His thoughts on the matter were: 1. He would not get any better, just live longer. 2. He was tired, he was ready to go.

MacTavish Level 7 Aug 27, 2018

In 2012 a dear friend passed away. He was brilliant man who touched the lives of everyone who knew him. He was one of those rare individuals who when he entered a room all eyes gravitated towards him, a man who had a presence that made his features look like they were cast in mobile granite, a colossal intellectual, sharp as a razor's edge even in his late 80's.

I think that your friend's decision to end her life was a courageous and compassionate decision for I am sure that she would not have wanted to suffer a slow and agonizing death surrounded by those who knew and loved her.

ASTRALMAX Level 7 Aug 27, 2018

it sounds like she thought it through and came to a decision that suited her and best off all was able to see it through im guessing most of us would want that gentle end to our lives. I think her atheism would only have removed the fear part for her it sounds like she had a lot of friends and probably a fulfilling life and atheism would just have been a part of it not the driving force . i hope you and the friends from the brunch club find some good emotions when remembering her in the coming weeks/months it is always sad to say goodbye take care

weeman Level 7 Aug 27, 2018

What an impressive, brave human being she was. You are lucky to have experienced her in your life. That is the kind of decision that I would like to be able to make if I have to. Condolences on the loss of your friend. Big hugs.

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