For Atheists only
It's not for atheists only...I just hoped I'd get their attention.
My oldest brother is about 10 years older than me. He married a girl that I adored. She always was the most upbeat, positive, energetic, go-gettem person that I ever knew. Everyone loves her. She's been a "pioneer" since she left high school, I think.
This past Spring she was diagnosed with cancer. As is typical with this disease, (dear reader: if you have not experienced this yet, you are lucky, and you will not fully comprehend my comments following...consider yourself blessed if that's the case), she had a bad diagnosis, then hope, then a bad diagnosis, then hope. My father once said that 'this cancer thing is one big disappointment after another'. I cannot express it anymore concisely than that.
After about six months of these flip flops, the ecstatic news came that she would be ok after surgery. We discovered that
they were wrong. They opened her up to do her surgery and closed her back up without doing it. Why? The cancer is all through her....not just in her bowel where they knew it was, but in so many other places that it was useless to operate. She has six months, at most, to live. No family history...lived a completely healthy, active life.
Those of you who are atheist, could you please tell me if you were in my shoes, how you would try to comfort her and my brother? What would you say or do?
I have no faith...no belief system...and this thing is so hard...I just don't know what to do or say.
Just be yourself, and be there for her. Sometimes people try to say comforting things they don't really believe in an effort to comfort someone, but then that's not real is it? But you are real. Don't believe you have to settle for something like a nice thought, just being the caring person that you are is very big.
Well, how are you at lying? I would let her keep thinking about the ressurection and paradise. But that's me. In this case, if you can lie, it might be good, imo.
Ps, sorry, i'm more of a pantheist than athieist.
Pps, um, i guess i believe also that our spirits probably carry on after the body dies. But, i'm still not a believer in the standard god.
IMO, there really isn't anything you can say beyond "I'm sorry for your loss", "I'm here for you", etc. This is going to be a very painful time and nothing will take away that pain besides time. :(
not good at lying...and to complicate matters, I'm not really a "good associate", if you know what I mean. They, (my brother and sister in law), don't seem to want me in their lives.
They, (my brother and sister in law), don't seem to want me in their lives.
What they want is irrelevant, even if you don't associate with her a lot it can still come through. No sense in driving yourself crazy looking for that perfect thing to say though.
Thank you guys...thanks calimark...I'm still feeling pretty stunned about it all.
It doesn't seem that long ago that my father died of this goddamned disease. I hate it so.
I'm so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law...and your Dad (he was one of the most patient men I knew)
I'm not sure what I would say specifically to her, but from my experience with families in the org facing death in the eye, they still have a hard time facing the idea of losing a loved one...even with the their "resurrection hope". Your S-I-L no doubt wants to enjoy the rest of her life being the upbeat person she is and might enjoy having someone more upbeat to have around,so she might enjoy your good sense of humour. Why it might be hard to have a lighter view of life during times like this, I sure would'nt want to be surrounded by morose people if I only had a short time left.(maybe no Jehover jokes though) Just make yourself available, she might put aside your "not great association label" and want to see you now, even if it is only to "witness" to you. Course this is all IMO...
(((( Kaethra ))))
I'm so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law's prognosis. Nobody should ever have to go through that. Cancer is just such a cruel disease and a horrible way to go.
There's nothing wrong with encouraging people in her situation to rely on their own beliefs and draw strength and hope from them. It's what she wants to do anyway... keep her integrity to The Truth? to the end. Yes, from your perspective and mine, it's a false hope - but at this point, it really doesn't matter one way or the other.
You can say things like "I'm glad that you find strength/hope in the Bible" or "Despite our differences of opinion, it makes me feel good to know that you've lived your life doing the things you loved doing".
Or how about just saying "I love you" and "I'm here for you".
I would remind her of all of her happy times... all of her friends and family.
Everyone comes and goes... so what matters is how we use what time we have. It sounds like she used her time very well.