Death & dying

Working with hospice is tough enough without the entanglement of religion and family members who may or may not be helpful in the dying processes. I respect their work and the goals of Hospice; several family members and friends were helped, especially families. I have no idea how one bridges the gap when a person is dying, weary, perhaps sick, sometimes tormented by people who love them, and all the while knowing death is an end of life as we know it and a change to a different form of energy. I don't understand why that is so frightening; death is like going to sleep; the brain and other organs begin to shut down when blood flow stops. My children have instructions to hold my hand if they can be with me, and rejoice that I came into the world and found it to be just splendid.

Members: 18
Latest Activity: Jun 24, 2014

Death and dying from an atheist point of view

Discussion Forum

The Comfort of an Atheist Afterlife

Started by annet. Last reply by annet Jun 14, 2012. 2 Replies

Today on Radio lab they did a really good hour on death and the afterlife.  Here is the link: pulled it…Continue


Started by dr kellie. Last reply by dr kellie May 10, 2012. 14 Replies

I am about to pick out my gravestone.  I need to come up with something I want written on it.  I have some ideas... This isn't meant to be a discussion about whether or not to be buried or have a…Continue

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Comment by booklover on May 8, 2012 at 9:42am

Joan, I wish we could all be sitting in your beautiful garden right now having a conversation "in real life". :) Melinda

Comment by booklover on May 8, 2012 at 9:42am

I'm sorry about your Sister Dogly.  Good for you and the rest of your heathens for standing-up for your Sister.  I can't stand when a religious person tries to 'help' an Atheist when they are unable to fight back.  I'm sure your brother thinks he's doing a good thing, but we know that it is not a good thing.~ Melinda

Comment by Dogly on May 8, 2012 at 9:39am

Thank you Joan.  My sister is dying of cancer now.  She is not a believer, but always keeps her ideas to herself.  One brother has tried to push a bishop on her to give her "Extreme Unction".  The rest of us heathens are protecting her from his 'ministrations'.   

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 7, 2012 at 8:27pm

Jennifer, I am glad you are with this discussion group. I'm sitting in my garden as I welcome you. It is so good to be alive and at peace. 

I took this photo a few minutes ago and birds sing in celebration of spring. 

Comment by booklover on May 7, 2012 at 4:19pm


Thank you Joan.  My daughter handled it well.  She is very bright and mature, but I still remember being her age and thinking nothing could happen to ME.  I think lots of young people have a feeling of invincibility.  It's sort of a good thing to have that hope, unless they use it to take stupid chances.  I try not to be too pessimistic.  I am, however, a HUGE worrier about my kids.  It doesn't do me any good, but there it is, ALL the time.

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 7, 2012 at 2:45pm

booklover, A very sad day, indeed. So very young. I just got goosebumps wondering how their parents handle their losses. In such cases it is hard to be casual (not the right word). For old ladies such as I, it is business as usual: be born, live and die. Not so with these young people. 
Perhaps the only comfort is having had them for 20 years and not forgetting them. It doesn't help the sad. 
I'm glad your daughter has you to talk about it. 

Comment by booklover on May 7, 2012 at 9:10am

My 20-year old Daughter called last night (as she always does) to say goodnight.  She told me a friend of hers from high school died yesterday from cancer of the bile ducts.  He was only 20.  A guy who went to her college died also yesterday in a car accident near the University.  And a guy who was in her sororities 'brother' fraternity committed suicide.  All 21 or younger.  What a sad day.  My daughter is an atheist so, of course, we just talked about making the most of each and every day, and finding something to smile about, or enjoy, because this is it!  She had just done "Relay for Life" and had a tee-shirt for her friend from high school.  She is going to send it to his twin-sister who is 30-weeks pregnant with a note saying it was for him, and he knew my daughter was walking for him and was going to bring him the tee-shirt. :(

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 7, 2012 at 3:04am

Hi Chris, glad to have you join this group. When my grandmother died, there was not a diagnosis for her behavior, which was clearly what we now call Alzheimer's. We didn't treat her very well when she did strange things. Thankfully, we know more about the aging brain and the stresses that go along with it. Those years of decline, whether with full mental and physical capacity or not, can be dealt with more humanely than some have done in the past. Growing older with dignity and self-respect is a learned behavior, and we should be able to learn from each other. 

Comment by Plinius on May 7, 2012 at 1:29am

Thanks for the invitation Joan! I haven´t got many ideas how to bridge the gap when someone is dying. I was there when my parents-in-law died and at the moment I often visit an aunt who is sliding away into Alzheimer's - what else can we do than make the dying person feel secure and loved? It's the best I can give.

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 7, 2012 at 12:33am

Be sure to watch this video of a man talking about death and dying from an atheist perspective.


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