I discovered I'm an atheist while someone important to me was in the middle of a battle with cancer. When he died it shook me to my core. It was the first death I experienced since I realized I didn't believe in an afterlife. To me, this wonderful man, someone who was like a second father to me, was just, gone. Most other people at the funeral had the comfort of believing they'd see him again. I envied them for that. My only comfort was knowing he was no longer in pain.
The Importance of Keeping Memories Alive
When someone is grieving, they are often pushed to move on, which can often cause them to feel alone. I believe we should accept grief, and feel free to talk about our memories.
Our society today has the habit of silencing grief. We are told to move on, and deal with it. People stop talking about the dead, and avoid even saying their names. People who aren't ready to move on in an "acceptable" time frame are often put down, or ignored.
I eventually realized that silence was only adding to my pain. Feeling like I wasn't allowed to talk about someone I had loved made me feel alone. Once I was able to express this to my husband, he admitted he thought talking about him would cause me more pain, so maybe silence would help me heal by encouraging me to think about other things.
Now, when I'm missing him, I speak up. I share my best memories and smile. On Memorial Day we toast to his memory. Some days I find the funeral program and sit and cry. I often think about things I would normally go to him to talk about, or miss feeling his hugs. I mourn over the fact that my children won't grow up with him in their lives. I've realized it's alright to still be feeling pain over this loss. It no longer rules my life, and I now feel he's living on in my memories.
Let's put a stop to silencing grief. Say the name, share your memories, and keep the person alive with your stories. From time to time it's also alright to have a day when you just sit and mourn together. Trying to force someone to forget and move on doesn't help them heal, but sharing in their memories and letting them know they aren't alone in their grief and help.
Death Leaves Hearta...