Where I have been. In case you haven’t noticed, I have not posted anything to this site since May 9th. On May 12, 2018, my mother in law, Judy died. She had a sudden cardiac arrest, and the paramedics were not able to get her heart started. We rushed up to her home as quickly as possible, but she was already cold by the time we got to hospital. The next day, we had to make funeral arrangements.
She had converted to Judaism about 8 or 9 years ago, so I was able to experience a Jewish funeral, with her added special request of hers: not to have any family, outside of immediate, or friends attend. There was no wake or visitation, just a brief viewing at the graveside. I have no way to convey how difficult it was for just 4 of us; father in law, wife, and 11 year old son. Looking back, it was very selfish of her to deny friends and family that final closure. It is what she really wanted, but I still regret not going against her wishes.
6 weeks later, my father had a sudden cardiac arrest on June 23rd. Unlike Judy, the paramedics were able to get his heart started, but his brain was without oxygen for 5 to 8 minutes. They followed a long protocol to cool his body down and then raise it back up to see how much brain damage had occurred. It turns out, all that was really left was his brain stem. On June 28th, it was decided to discontinue any life support. He was surrounded by family, and his brainstem was able to keep his heart and lungs going for about 2 hours. He could of been kept alive by machines, but he died on the Saturday, a few minutes after his heart stopped.
My Father’s funeral was very different, our whole family, his friends, and even his remaining brother came from Michigan to pay his respects. The hardest part of the day was the fact it fell on my son’s 12th birthday. The officiant suggested that we celebrate his birthday, and she even bought him a cake. The funeral was very touching, and I was a pallbearer. I spoke as well, telling a funny story about a pair of lost glasses and a van up a mountainside. It was great to have closure.
When it is all said and done, I still don’t believe there is a god, or an afterlife, which makes the whole dealing with the death of loved ones all that much harder. Now that I have seen what death looks like and how final it is, I know the truth, dead is dead. It is hard to know I will never see them again. For anyone who says atheists just want to deny god to sin, has not thought of the repercussions of not being able to believe in a god. This also means I can’t believe in an afterlife. Do you really think I would want to give up the possibility of living in paradise, forever, for a few brief years of pleasure?
I know the pastor and Rabbi mean well during the funeral ceremonies, but I know they have no idea what happens to us after we die. For all the talk of looking down on us and resurrection, the facts are there is almost no possibility of an afterlife, resurrection, or rebirth. The only hope that I have is that that humans, or our machine creations, in the far future will find a way to save our memories and personalities at the point of death. But, for now, when the 1.5 kilograms of brain stops working, that is the end, and that is a depressing thought. I would rather live with that sad fact than live with a lie.
I really miss my Dad and my mother in law and I really am trying to honor their memories, but that is all I can do, since they are truly gone.