Saying Goodbye Instead of See You Later

We, as social animals, do not typically enjoy saying goodbye. I have never met anyone who was excited to say goodbye to someone they love. What makes this inevitable event more bearable is the fact that we will be able to see them again. What happens though, when this promise of reunion is taken away? A religious person never truly experiences the feeling of losing someone with no hope of ever seeing them again, but for an atheist, losing someone to death is a very final thing.

 

Since embracing my atheism, letting go of the delusion that my deceased loved ones are: “watching over me” or are “up in heaven talking to Jesus” has been the biggest struggle. It is a reality, however, that I was ok to accept in theory. Recently though, my willingness to accept a harsh reality over a kinder lie has been put to the test.

 

On May 13th, 2015, my dad died due to lung cancer. He had only been diagnosed about 3 months earlier, so it happened pretty quickly. My relationship with my father was not your typical father-daughter relationship, I was raised by my grandparents and did not even know who my father was until I was 13. At that time, we began writing letters. I still have every letter that he ever sent me. When we were able, we spent quite a bit of time together. Being around him when he was sober, was a very enjoyable experience. For a while though, I did not see him, he was addicted to drugs and alcohol and I refused to bear witness to him stumbling all over himself. After he was diagnosed, I had a choice to make. I could have stayed away and then losing him would have been much easier. It still would have hurt, but not near as severely as it does now. I decided that I wanted to reestablish our relationship. I wanted to use the time that was left to get a better understanding of who exactly my father was underneath the drugs and addiction. Some (including myself) may think that is was a stupid thing to do. In a way, it was setting myself up for a fall. I felt that it was the right thing for me to do though.
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Personal Journey Series – Reflections on the Passing of a Father

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Sometimes life has a funny way of kicking you in the ass, and death has a way of helping you remember memories you once had forgotten. I don’t know where to begin or why this should even bother me the way it does. For this connection has been one that was long lost, drifted away on a sea of time and space only to be brought to my mind with the passing of a common acquaintance.

 

This week I received an email from an old friend. One that used to share life and happiness with me as we journeyed through love, loss, and friendship. His life was one no one would envy but his hard and honest work has always won out. This friend left for another state years ago, and we slowly started to lose touch. His favorite saying was, “We have said it all before. What more can we say?” This used to bother me, as I was feeling the distance of his path leaving mine and as the winding roads started to split apart until little to no contact was made. This friend had a hard life. I got to share some of his struggles and learn with him through many a trial as we gathered our belongings and hiked the road of life.
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An Atheist Grieves

I open my eyes and my first coherent thought is, “It is Monday. My dad’s been dead for three days.”

 

I need to email my professors. Let them know what happened. Be sure to use the word “unexpectedly” so they understand. So they can more accurately calculate my allowable allotment of grief. Let them know I didn’t complete the homework they assigned over the weekend. Let them know I won’t be on campus today. I won’t be on campus tomorrow either. Ask for more time.

 

I had 41 of his 62 years… but I’d kill for more time.

 

I wonder how long I’ll measure the passing of time in days since his death. He would have been amused by the thought that his death might spawn the birth of a new calendar. Just like all those people who think A.D. means “After Death”; Jesus crucified to kick off the Gregorian calendar.

 

I should really write this shit down.

 

Is staccato a thing that thoughts can be? Mine are. Staccato. Sharp and subtle and brief. Pizzicato. Plucked from the air for a flash and them gone. No… pizzicato was Friday. Sitting at the bus stop. Screaming into the phone.

 

“What? Oh god… I’m on my way. I’m on my way!”
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The Afterlife

© The Unassuming Atheist

“Life is a short warm moment. Death is a long cold rest.” These are lyrics from a favorite Pink Floyd song of mine called “Free Four” from the album Obscured by Clouds. OBC was the album before Dark Side of The Moon and provided the fertile ground that would blossom into one of the best-selling recordings of all time. Many of Roger Water’s lyrics focused on death. “Free Four” is about what one thinks about on their deathbed. “You shuffle in gloom of the sick room…and talk to yourself as you die.”

 

Pretty profound stuff. However, I’m not writing an article about Pink Floyd. I just wanted to point out a portion of the first line that I quoted. …”Death is a long cold rest.” Is that what death really is? A dirt nap, so to speak?

 

Without attempting (poorly) to give a history lesson, I think we all know that mankind has always had a fascination with death. It is the Great Mystery, isn’t it? Look at the incredible detail found in the burial tombs of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs. One ancient Asian emperor had an entire terracotta army buried with him to command in the afterlife. Look it up, it’ll blow your mind.

 

There are many examples throughout history of man trying to explain the unexplainable. As we moved through the ages and learned some things along the way, the answers to these mysteries revealed themselves. The earth is flat, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox created the Grand Canyon…you know, stuff like that. Those that believed the myths of their point in time went kicking and screaming when science, reason, or whatever, provided the explanation that solved the mystery. Look what is happening right now in our lifetime with the evolution versus creationism debate. Kicking and screaming.
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Ten Things They Hate About Us.

America’s favorite grifter Joshua Feuerstein posted this article from Christian Today on his facebook page recently; and while I was strongly inclined to overlook it just like all of the other presuppositional hogwash that so frequently finds its way into my Facebook news feed I thought the author of the article made one very important point.  “Some Questions Atheist Cannot Truly and Honestly REALLY  Answer! (sic) Which leads to some interesting conclusions…”

The fastest growing religious orientation is “none, thanks” and we as atheist activists or armchair philosophers ought to be able to answer these questions. However, so often now I see the same angst ridden talking points that I used against the JUST club kids in 7th grade: “Your God is a fairy tale.” “Do you still believe in Santa Claus?” “You’re so stupid for believing in a magical skydaddy who cares about who wins football games and where your keys are.” et cetera… I say it’s time we move past such foolish talking points and move towards more thoughtful and purposeful dialogue and in that spirit I will answer Mr. Feuerstein’s questions while listening to Limp Bizkit’s album Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water (because Joshua Feuerstein is the Fred Durst of presuppositional apologetics.)

Questions From The Article:

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