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Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:04 AM

 

What do you do when someone dies.( in place of prayer.)

I come from a very religious family, so when someone gets sick they do a lot of praying,and calling on others for group praying. I want them to know that I care, but I'm not willing to join the prayer circles. I call and try to stay in touch, but I feel like persona non grata.

I like to light candles for the dead, just to think about them and remember their energy, good times I had with them.

I am not being invited to Gramma's funeral.
Should I just fake so I get to be there?
Or just light my candle alone like always?

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply What do you do when someone dies.( in place of prayer.) (Original post)
bravenak Apr 2013 OP
dballance Apr 2013 #1
bravenak Apr 2013 #6
dballance Apr 2013 #8
bravenak Apr 2013 #12
Jokerman Apr 2013 #11
snappyturtle Apr 2013 #2
CrispyQ Apr 2013 #3
bravenak Apr 2013 #7
CrispyQ Apr 2013 #10
bravenak Apr 2013 #14
CrispyQ Apr 2013 #21
Curmudgeoness Apr 2013 #17
libodem Apr 2013 #4
cynatnite Apr 2013 #5
Warren Stupidity Apr 2013 #9
bravenak Apr 2013 #13
backscatter712 Apr 2013 #16
Neoma Apr 2013 #15
Warpy Apr 2013 #18
Iggo Apr 2013 #19
JNelson6563 Apr 2013 #20
bravenak Apr 2013 #24
RebelOne Apr 2013 #22
onager Apr 2013 #23
bravenak Apr 2013 #25
defacto7 Apr 2013 #26
progressoid Apr 2013 #27
AtheistCrusader Apr 2013 #28
LiberalAndProud Apr 2013 #29
PassingFair Apr 2013 #30
bravenak Apr 2013 #31

Response to bravenak (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:11 AM

1. I Didn't Realize One Had to Be Invited to Their Grandmother's Funeral

 

If you want to go, then go. Unless you have terribly strained relations with your family I can't see them calling the police to have you ejected. And NO, you shouldn't fake (shouldn't have to fake) who you are to be there.

I'm also an atheist and my knows it. One sister is very religious. Never had any problems with her fortunately. Sending flowers or a non-religious themed card is very agnostic so that's what I do if I can't attend a funeral. When I go to funerals there is always prayer. I respectfully bow my head and think about the deceased and the good memories I have of them while others pray. It's my own tribute in lieu of prayer.

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Response to dballance (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:32 AM

6. I know that you are right.

 

They just make me nervous watching and judging. And my uncle is the pastor in a boisterous African American church. There's no quietly sitting in a corner there! I better say about fifteen hallelujahs and twenty amens or else.
I just realized that I may be more indoctrinated than I thought.
So card and flowers it is.
And no they would never have me ejected, I'm her favorite sons only child. I look just like her.
I'll just buck up and endure.
And try not to disrespect their slavemasters religion.
I was feeling sad.
I feel better.
Thank you.
I'll do as I please, and feel good about it.

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Response to bravenak (Reply #6)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:55 AM

8. "Slavemasters' Religion" I Love That

 

It's a shame that's one set of chains that have yet to be thrown off by African Americans and Whites too.

Given the lively nature of the church I can understand your discomfort. It's okay to feel sad and miss your grandmother. Just don't feel sad for yourself for being who you are.

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Response to dballance (Reply #8)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:06 PM

12. Thank you for understanding what I meant by that.

 

Slavemasters religion is my favorite line. Happy 4:20!

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Response to bravenak (Reply #6)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:03 PM

11. If you want to go, then go.

You can't get hung up on the fact that they are judging you because that's what they will do whether you're there or not. Don't let their intolerance determine your behavior.

Unfortunately, major life events can turn a marginally religious person into a zealot and a zealot into a whirling dervish and all we can do is try to stay above the fray.

If they are so over the top that they will become openly confrontational by your refusal to participate, then limiting your exposure to them is wise but don't let them keep you from honoring your grandmother in whatever way you choose.

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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:16 AM

2. Tough call. I think your decision might hinge on your

relationship with Gramma while she was living.

Think about this maybe it will help: Who are
funerals for? The deceased? The living?

Hope you find peace in your decision....and my
condolences.

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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:18 AM

3. "I am not being invited to Gramma's funeral."

That's just mean. And they dare call themselves Christian?

Since when does one need an invitation to attend a funeral? Death notices are posted in the paper. Generally, anyone who wants to honor the life of the deceased, is welcome. That's how it should be - a celebration of their life, not a shaming of your beliefs.

Go to your grandma's funeral & light a candle for her.

Big, big for you.

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Response to CrispyQ (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:47 AM

7. They live in California and I live in Alaska.

 

She ain't dead yet, few days maybe more. I'll probably get the call a day late so I can't make it in time.
Some Christians are not exactly followers of Christ.
I've change a lot and they still think of me as I was. I let them take control of my daughters funeral and give her last rights, the whole nine. Prayer meetings, all that. I was a pushover. A phony.
They are angry, because the rallied the whole church family to pray for my daughter. And I didn't appreciate it. At all. Just wanted to be with her till the end. Not in church.
I'll be there.
It means a lot that people are so caring in this world. Thank you.



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Response to bravenak (Reply #7)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:58 AM

10. I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter.

What a difficult time to deal with people who think they are doing well, but are totally insensitive.

Strength to you in the coming days.

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Response to CrispyQ (Reply #10)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:19 PM

14. Thank you.

 

It's been 8 years, I have 2 more girls now. The pain has lessened, it was a genetic disorder. That's why the praying irritated. You can't pray away Zellweger syndrome.
Learning the science behind it helped.

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Response to bravenak (Reply #14)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 05:42 PM

21. "Learning the science behind it helped."

Dr. Sagan would have loved reading that.

"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
~Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World

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Response to bravenak (Reply #7)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 02:25 PM

17. If it is possible, and you want to be there, get there now.

Before she passes. Paying respect and mourning are not exclusive to the religious. We honor our close relatives in our own ways....everyone is different. I would rather be there to hold her hand one last time, and I know that it would be part of the grieving process for me to be there. If you are still there for the funeral, and do not want to attend that, go to the calling hours if they have those prior to the actual funeral.....that is a time to say your final goodbye, and it does not have to be related to any religion.

If you will feel better to be there, go. It does help the grief when you are with other loved ones, however misguided they are.

And I am very sorry for your loss of your daughter. Times like that are not easy times to stand up to the zealots.

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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:29 AM

4. There has to be a substitute of some kind

Religious folks can not have co-opted all the power of love from the rest of us? Could they have? I get past religion by going to, "God is Love". Minus the god part. I think of the Bible as Hebrew History 101. Meh.

When one watches a charismatic preacher, it seems like the captivation of the audience is like group hypnosis. The words, the pace, the movements hold rapt attention.

So I would think one could command a performance which grabs and holds the group attention in a common embrace which can be lead to an emotional experience of love, peace, understanding and forgiveness of myself and others.

Who says atheists could not conduct a group experience of serenity and comfort for the grieving in a logical and rational manner using scientific psychology methods and cultivate the desired response in a group?

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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:30 AM

5. Since when is an invite required for a funeral?

Go anyway and show your respect and love in a way you are comfortable with.

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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:57 AM

9. Wakes worked for my family.

 

We were raised agnostic/atheist/irreligious. When my Irish formerly Catholic dad died we went straight to the wake and skipped the religious bullshit. We testified to his life and what it meant to us, we drank and ate good food and played the music he devoted his life to, as he would have wanted. We celebrated a life well lived.

I've gone to plenty of religious funerals and suffer through the religious part with only minor discomfort. Invariably the next part - the equivalent of the Irish wake, is the part where everyone does what comes naturally to all of us without the weight of religion - we celebrate the life of a person who we knew and loved.

Go to the wake, even if you aren't really invited.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #9)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:14 PM

13. The 20 percent of me that is Irish instinctively knew I should be a wake person.

 

My stepdad was a recovering catholic, so we had a party for his funeral!
He died after we cropped our last batch of hydro, rolled it up with some of his ashes. He would have been so proud! His urn was right there so, I guess he had fun dancing with me to Whitney Houston!
A house full, laughing and telling stories. That's how we should remember people.

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Response to bravenak (Reply #13)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:27 PM

16. That's a true Keith Richards funeral! n/t

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #9)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:20 PM

15. I read that wakes started up because some people were so drunk, they'd mistake them for dead.

Hence the name "wake" to see if the person wakes up.

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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 03:25 PM

18. You don't get invited to a funeral, you show up to honor the person

and put up with all the hogwash from the preacher. She was your grandmother, too, and you deserve to be there.

You might not get invited to somebody's house afterward, though. Take a casserole with you in your car and if you are invited back with the family, give it to them. If they snub you, that's their problem and you can take it home and enjoy it yourself, so make it a good one.

You can honor somebody's life without trying to flatter a vengeful god into not sending her to hell. You do that by telling your favorite memories of her.

ETA: The Irish wake was not only to make sure the person wasn't just dead drunk, it was because of a religious superstition that malevolent spirits (later the divvil) would steal the person's soul out of his body if he was left alone at night.

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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 04:04 PM

19. Instead of praying, I don't pray.

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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 04:44 PM

20. Great thread and welcome Bravenak!

I am sorry to read of the pending death of your grandma and the loss of your daughter.

Please don't be at all hard on yourself about the way your daughter's funeral went. That is such a vulnerable time, I doubt anyone could've put up a fight with a religious blindside/ambush. Besides, your energies were better spent elsewhere than fighting with them.

As to this current situation...if you can get there before your grandma dies then by all means do so. If not I would suggest you do your own thing in your own space because I don't think the funeral will be anything but a source of additional grief to you.

Welcome to DU and to this particular group. I look forward to future posts from you!

Hugs and encouragement for what you're dealing with now.

Julie

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Response to JNelson6563 (Reply #20)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 10:10 PM

24. Thank you.

 

I'll just get down there soon an expect to be pleasantly surprised. If she goes too soon ill stay home. No need for drama. At least they support marriage equality. So they're evolving.

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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 08:45 PM

22. When I go to a funeral, which is usually religious,

I just bow my head when it gets to all the prayers.

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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 10:06 PM

23. Welcome and good luck.

As everybody else said, you don't need any invitation to go to a funeral. Though I certainly understand your feelings about "sitting there being judged." I grew up in the South and have been in somewhat similar situations.


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Response to onager (Reply #23)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 10:13 PM

25. Thank you.

 

Being a black atheist is strange for some people to comprehend. It's nice not to feel alone. Or judged for something you have no control over.

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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Sun Apr 21, 2013, 01:59 AM

26. I've been to a lot of funerals of religious family members.

And they know where I stand. I am always there and participate in everything, but I don't pray, I don't lie, I don't try to deceive, but I am helpful when I can be and very respectful and do my best to console just by being human. It does have a certain aspect of showing them that atheists are not distant, soulless and cold. I think it helps them to see that I really am one of them and it may even be educational.

I wouldn't stay away if at all possible. It would be good for you to participate and it would be good for them as well.

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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Sun Apr 21, 2013, 01:11 PM

27. In addition to the thoughts given above...

Here's a hug:



These times are hard enough without having to deal with religious snobbery.






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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Tue Apr 23, 2013, 12:15 PM

28. Some of this is so inculcated into our culture that there isn't a good option.

I have a very sick grandfather. All the family members are posting shit on facebook, asking for prayers and posting how breathlessly they are rushing home to see him, all for naught because the man they are talking about hasn't used facebook in his entire life, let alone a computer, and he will never see any of it, and neither will his wife.

I want to call Grandma and let her know I care, but what do I say? I hope he gets better? We're thinking of you? Let us know if there's anything we can do, without actually doing anything?

It would be so much easier to just say 'I am praying for you', because that word somehow carries the connotation of 'doing something' when you really aren't doing anything more than hope, think. But somehow saying I 'hope' just doesn't seem as reassuring.

Dunno what to do about it. I have some ideas, but none of them seem to fit quite right, and they all look odd in the light of the normal cultural leeway offered to people of faith/etc that 'pray'.

Very frustrating.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #28)

Tue Apr 23, 2013, 03:20 PM

29. Do call to let her know that you are thinking of them.

Say something like, "I love you both very much and I hope grandad makes it through this." Your grandmother is probably very fearful right now. It can be terrifying to contemplate losing your life-partner. Don't let your lack of faith be translated as callousness. That would be a shame.

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Response to bravenak (Original post)

Tue Apr 23, 2013, 10:36 PM

30. Resurrected from my journal...when my brother died in 2011

Posted by PassingFair in Atheists and Agnostics Group
Wed Oct 12th 2011, 08:03 AM
Church memorial service was unsatisfying.

Piper was nice, but he was memorialized by
a minister that he didn't know, and who obviously
didn't know him.

Not very comforting to hear that whosoever
believeth in him shall have everlasting life,
when whosoever didn't believeth in him at all...

Afterwards, an old friend of his had us all come
out to his cottage on the bay, and we had a HUGE
bonfire. Some of his belonging were bundled up in
a shroud and placed on the fire/pyre,
including the clothes he died in and
models of a viking longboat and a Roman trireme that
he had built years ago. His gamer friends filled the
boats up with lead minis.

Then we all wrote notes to him on little bamboo
boats, which we either set out onto the bay or threw
into the fire. His favorite songs were played throughout.

I cried through the whole thing, but it was a fitting
ceremony for a passionate and uncommon guy.

My mother was upset that everyone felt comforted by
"viking beliefs" but not the christian ones. I had to
tell her that the fire ceremony was about KEITH, but
that the church ceremony had been about Jesus. That no one
"believed" that the notes were going straight to Vahalla
to be read by Keith, but were a personal way to say
GoodBye to Keith. She'll never get it, because she
believes he's "up there" with Dad. I certainly don't argue
with her on that, whatever makes her feel better is OK
with me. (And I don't claim to know whether or not he
is anywhere, anymore.)

Now if I can only get "Stairway to Heaven" out of my
HEAD!!!! It appears that there's a bustle in my hedgerow,
and it won't stop.

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Response to PassingFair (Reply #30)

Tue Apr 23, 2013, 10:54 PM

31. Now that is awesome!

 

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