A childhood friend died this week. car accident, broken neck, life support removed after 2 weeks. he is the husband of my high school best friend.
I am heading to the wake/memorial service this morning. First funeral as a non-believer for me.
I'm a recovering extremist Catholic, in my past would have spent the entire week praying, offering masses, etc. None of that now.
Wondering how all of you deal with funerals, death etc as non-believers. So far i have been quietly respectful of those who still belioeve and find comfort in their assumptions of an afterlife.
I had my belief structure (Is that what we have? . . . Nah!) tested at my parents' funerals. We were a "good" Catholic family and I was the first to excuse myself from religious practice in our extended family.
I didn't take communion at either funeral and several of the extended family members quit talking to me. I did serve as a pallbearer in both funerals and for other family members - okay enough for them to let me do the heavy lifting.
I went to Catholic schools through high school graduation. I was exposed to a maelstrom of religious beliefs when I went into the Air Force. I had been a skeptic for some time before but that exposure made me start thinking on a different level. I was also exposed to Buddhist beliefs while in Viet Nam. I also met people who were atheist and of other religious belief systems. I've been agnostic/atheist for 50 years, now.
I do respect others' beliefs but I also believe that I have a right to my beliefs. Telling someone what I believe can be tantamount to yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre so I'm mindful of who I am talking to. I tried becoming Catholic, again, after I left the Air Force but that was impossible. I would have had to suspend all that I had learned in the interim and I would only have been trying to fool myself.
I wear a grey suit with black tie and keep my head down.
At the last funeral there was a seated obese women whom I kindly asked if I could pass so that I could sit down. I didn't realize she was praying and her God didn't like it by her facial expression. I didn't intentionally annoy her but nonetheless will be more careful when inside churches in the future.
I was the last friend to see Tim alive and we shared a smoke outside the Chelsea and Westminster hospital in the late evening and I enjoyed his company, as usual.
He was a true friend.