Ok, be sensitive because I am talking about someone I love very much. My mother is dying and I am taking it very hard indeed. I understand that as an atheist death of a loved one is exceptionally hard. There is no comfort in an afterlife, no belief the person will be in a “better place” and no notion I will be with them ever again. How have other atheists managed the death of someone they loved so much?
For me it's the ripples.
See, I do not know your Mom, until a moment ago I never heard of the woman.
Yet here she is touching me through you.
Her ripple washes over me.
LONG after you are gone, traditions, habits sayings and stories might well have her wash over others as well, along with your ripples.
We are not eternal beings, but the things we do and say create ripples which long outlast us, which affect the very nature of who others turn out to be.
It is fair to say that you would not be the YOU you know, without her input. Her ripples affected you.
And now me, through you.
Even now, with my own mother long gone, her ripple touches me as I empathize with your experience.
I feel for you. Both of my parents are gone and it was hard. Their deaths changed me. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself room to grieve and grow. Reach out to the people in your life, most of them will want to be there for you and you'll need them. Don't close yourself off. You may feel like doing that but it will make this harder on you. Hugs.
I went through this last year with my own mother. I'm sorry you're going through it now. It's not easy and especially if you had a best friend in your mother as I did. I saw my mom go through many years of pain from rheumatoid arthritis, shingles, cancer and a heart attack. I cherished every moment I had with her and made sure to spend time with her, make her laugh. Those are the things that will stay with you. Remember the good, learn from the bad. When she passed I probably appeared to be in shock as I was smiling and happy. I was of course sad for losing her but I was happy she was no longer in pain. She was no longer suffering, and while she was in the hospital we found out she had more cancer. I knew she would not want to live another day having cancer again. She was where she wanted to be. I didn't know the answers and I was okay with that, as long as she was no longer in pain. You will process this in your own way of course and which every way you do, it's going to be okay. It'll be hard but it'll get easier. Try to focus on the positive that you were lucky enough to have her in your life, that you had her for the amount of time you did. It's alright to feel selfish at times and wish she was here. You will go through a roller coaster of emotions. Stay strong hun! Hugs!
recall all the good that came of your relationship with her.THat the suffering of life is over, including the suffering of death if that is the case. THere isnt much to ease the grief of death,if you have others especially enjoy your time with them. I wish I had other more powerful suggestions. Hugs
I lost my father in 2012, and my mother in 2016.
They remain with me in my memories. They remain with me in my affections. They remain with me in my gratitude.
The sorrow is great, but somehow the good memories last last longer than the regrets - so as time passes the pain is replaced by the joy of having shared your life with someone wonderful.
well, I lost my sister just over a year ago and a beloved pet dog. the way I see it is that like before you are born it was completely peaceful with no pain and no concerns. like when you sleep but don't remember your dreams. I think that's the best option really. all you can hope for is a peaceful death and I do feel your pain. energy moves on and you must have death to have life as like many things it is a circle of moving energy. my ashes are going under 2 willow trees i planted for myself about 10 years ago where i used to play as a child and walk my dogs later on in life near a river. my energy will go into them but much more importantly they will help nature directly.
I'm in a similar situation.
Something which brings me comfort is thinking about how life, death, life, death, life... is a natural cycle and everyone is part of it. It is a universally shared experience.
I also mentally grasp the concept of life in the context of the cosmos. There is no meaning to life, it is an accident. It just is.
And it helps to think of life being the exception rather than the norm and that none of us is exempt.
This may sound crass (and I apologise if it does) but I think of a quote from the children's film 'Tuck Everlasting', which goes:
"Do not fear death, but rather the unlived life. You don't have to live forever. You just have to live."
If someone enjoyed their life; that is something to celebrate, since we are all going to die anyway.
The brutal juxtaposition between being with the person you love and being without them, because of death, is not something which can be intellectualised out of. We have to hurt and we have to grieve because nature made us that way. It's in our DNA.
The silver lining is the lesson death teaches us - that our relationships with the people we love are precious and need to be cherished and nurtured.
I'm sorry if I've not helped, or worse still - if I've offended. I'm a clumsy fool sometimes. I hope you have support from friends and family members. Take care.
My mother died of cancer when I was 18. I did feel she was in a better spot because she endured so much pain in the end. Religious people told me her pain was a teaching moment between her and god. They said she would move into heaven faster because of the experience. I actually found that more troubling than the thought I'd never see her again. Now I am in my 60's and I look back over my life and I find she has been with me throughout my life. She has been remembered fondly. So though she is not with me physically, she has been by my side while all the big parts of my life have occurred. She was there because I put her there. If she was alive she would have fought hard to be there every time. So I didn't really miss her. I find a lot of comfort because of that. I hope this helps for now.
While it is a contradiction and a very difficult time possibly try and celebrate the good that your mother did in life. That good will live on in you or anyone else that she touched. A celebration of what your mother achieved, knowing her memory will live on with you and others? I do hope you get through this difficult time. My thoughts are with you.
I cried harder than I have ever cried, alot. I still do occasionally. After a while that becomes inappropriate. Other things happen. Happy things happen and I am happy about them. It is always there but there is room for good feelings after a while. I talk about her often, not in a sad way, when I see something she liked or use advice she gave me. I get angry at ways she never understood me or things she could have done for herself to have a better life. I use the quilt she made me, and feed the cat she gave to my daughter. I look at her Facebook page. It was the realest thing that ever happened to me. I am so sorry for what you are going through.
My father committed suicide 7 years ago and the event was traumatic when it happened. But I quickly became peaceful with my thoughts about it, so I didn't suffer much and was able to comfort other family in dealing with our emotions concerning what happened. I try to let everyone deal with death the best way they know how. But I think death can be another beautiful aspect of life.
I feel it's easier to process a death as an atheist. When my mother died, I seemed to have handled it better than my siblings who still mostly had the religious mindset regarding death.
I think it was because I embraced the grief, instead of shunning it. I enjoyed surrounding myself with her things, rather than boxing everything up to send away out of sight. I wrote to everyone on her xmas card list (she died Dec 26th many years ago) to inform her extended circle of friends, individually, that she had died. Many of those people wrote back with their fond memories and other anecdotes. I felt that interacting with my mother's friends and the letter writing was cathartic and therapeutic as I painfully went through the shock and grief, realizing I was now an orphan.
If your mother has any wishes for her funeral/memorial, find out what they are and take comfort in carrying them out. Take the wonderful things about her personality into your heart so that you can carry her common sense or passions or what-have-you with you as you go through life. In this way, she's not gone but living on through you in a special way.
It's hard to think about losing someone as important in your life as your mother, and it will likely be one of the hardest things you'll ever have to endure. Let yourself cry... talk with those who know your mom... as they understand what you're going through.
You have her now, warm and near where you can interact with her, touch her, hug her... and that will be ending. That is the physical part that is so hard. There is a threshold of transition you'll need to cross. Keep her in your thoughts and memories to carry her with you. In this way she may be gone from this physical world, but she is not gone from your heart, if you keep her memory alive, through some sort of legacy. A ritual you do, an activity you perform on certain anniversaries, etc., can be helpful.
Her "afterlife" is within all those who loved her and remember her going forward.
I am sure many here like me are feeling sorry for you right now. Be strong, continue living for her. About your question... I took life as it is, this is not forever. Lost many relatives from grandparents to siblings. Don't know when my father passed. Just be strong. My only fear about death is me losing one of my three children. Only experience I am not prepared for and believe I never be. I don't understand how my mother is that strong. Wish you the best and stay strong.
Time. Time to me is like a film reel. we only ever experience what is happening on the screen now and we can only ever move forward. however, this is only our human experience. let me ask you a question. WHERE is yesterday? I remember it. i have a degree of physical evidence for it, but WHERE is it? WHERE did the time go? If i had a spacecraft that travelled faster than light and a telescope tolook back to earth that was powerful enough to see individuals I might see you and your mum yesterday, or me and my mum 18 months ago, before she died. WE ARE STILL THERE. we just arnt experiencing it in the here and now. we can't turn back time, but that doesnt mean that yesterday does not exist. we simply can't go there. I knew my mum for 52 years. I will always be with her and she with me for all of that time, forever, because yesterday is always happening somewhere, its on the reel, my life moves on, but our shared life, each frame is forever playing in the theater of time...
Give your mum a hug.
A long time ago I resolved this issue for myself. I know there is no afterlife but I also know that people we have loved, and hated for that matter, will live on for as long as people exist on this planet. The web of existence is a never ending continuum in which every person has an impact, positive and negative, on those around them, changing the world for ever. Those we've known and loved live on in us and we honor them by trying to live up to what was best in them and thereby pass their positive energy onto future generations.
In our 'Western' society, we are conditioned by our religious perspective to fear death unless we are perceIved by the religious mainstream to be 'good'. This fear becomes deeply ingrained. Freeing ourselves from the religious construct enables us to develop a more reasoned attitude to death and dying- No less emotional, I hasten to add, for the pain of loss is deeply felt, but rejecting the notion of crime and punishment does much to dispel the doubt and insecurity that can attend the loss- an appreciation of the true cycle of life. Focus on how precious is your memory of her, and on her real legacy: The look of your mother in yours or your children's eyes; her mannerisms, values and expressions passed on to those who have loved her. These are for your mother her true heaven, and the part of her that will never leave you.