My closest friend of 25 years is dying of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, lying in a hospice after she wisely refused chemo that could have killed her anyway, seizing a few days, a week or two, who knows, certainly not "God." I shouldn't go into Mackie, but what the hey, I will. If "God" is omnipotent, he cannot be good, since an omnipotent "God" would not let as precious a person as my Ellie die of a blood disease. That was Mackie's argument against the existence of "God," and that Old Time Religion is good enough for me.

Yet, when I visit her in the hospice, Camus's Meursault comes to mind as well. I think of the final scene in The Stranger when Meursault, a condemned man, looks up at "the benign indifference of the universe." That is what awaits my friend, not some graybeard at a Graceland gate. At least she has chosen cremation, which spares her heirs of expensive caskets and such. But the family has brought her Booble to the room, as well as a cross, and not to forget those horrid little books one finds in the supermarket about faith, hope, love, and such, all written from a Christian point of view.

I must suppose I am in denial. I haven't had a good cry. But I sometimes feel like my favorite character in a Bergman movie, the writer-father in Through a Glass Darkly who helplessly watches his daughter go insane; helpless because he wants to use her schizophrenia as a subject for a story.

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He smoked but otherwise appeared to be a healthy individual. Again, I didn't know his entire history, but he seemed to be in possession of all his facilities and hence me calling suicide in the instance selfish.

In regards to Hemingway, I find that very understandable especially since I just watched "You don't know Jack" on HBO. Jack Kevorkian was on Bill Maher's Real Time last week as well. I find great comfort in what he did and hope more people will eventually see that some lives are worse than death...but as for young suicides with no complete debilitation, I can't understand.
My 81 year old Dad passed away somewhat suddenly about 6 weeks ago. The best thing I did was write and do the eulogy for him. (Attached below.) Just after I finished writing it and read it for the first time, I totally lost it then and really only then. (It took 3 or 4 deep breaths to get through it at the big Catholic church mass.)

Although I miss him, I believe my atheism comforts me in not having to worry if he made it to heaven or if he's burning in a lake of fire now. He does live on, not in a "better place" some people have told me, but in my fond memories of him.
Attachments:
Very nice Dave. I am thinking I should do the same for my friend. And I will help the family with the obituary, both in its writing and payment.
I don't know if this helps, but the "death moment" is no big deal. I've "died" twice in my lifetime. Once for 3 minutes, once for 5 hours.
To me, that actual moment was the most painless, stress-free, easiest thing I've ever done. Nothing mattered, no sense of fear or regret...nothing. Just 'click'.

Of course, just prior is miserable...lot's of pain (was for me anyway).

Without generalizing too much, I think dying is much harder for the caring observer than the participant.
Too much objectivity is perhaps responsible for such situation. If one thinks himself as part of life cycle(as of a whole), things would be much easier and simple. For me the death is passing on the batton to the next generations and becoming the part of nature myself.
Right, like the lyric in the Laura Nyro song: "And when I die/And when I'm dead and gone/There'll be one child born to carry on/To carry on."
Grief is the toughest emotion for the human mind to wrap around. I know there are no words that will truly resolve your pain, and I hope you'll forgive me if I avoid the anguish of sympathizing - however, I can most certainly empathize.

The only things I can offer are 1) a word of wishing, 2) a word of ranting, 3) a word of sorrow

1)
Hold previous advice and remember the good times shared - that is the best analogy I can think of heaven: the legacy we leave behind. I hope your friend passes peacefully.
2)
people's ignorance of the dying one's faith (or lack - though i don't know the circumstance with your friend) is abominable to me. The one moment I ask to be entirely mine, and actually expect delivery upon is my last
3)
I think modern burial laws are cruel. I don't want to be burned, nor casketed up - but composting a human being isn't legal in the states...
She passed, loaded up on morphine, in her sleep. Memorial is tomorrow.
I wish you forget her pains soon and have only wonderful memories of her which fill your heart with joy.
Thanks, A.M. I do have fond memories. She was a great lady.

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