The Grieving Atheist

A Blog

Window Shopping

I hate window shopping. I’ve never seen the point. I mean, I don’t even like shopping shopping, even when I actually require something, so shopping with no intention of buying seems utterly pointless to me. Also, it seems like a reminder than you don’t have the money to spend, and who needs that?

Oddly, I do like planning vacations. I’ll spend hours finding the best flight at the best price and the perfect hotel room. I research the local restaurants and plan daily activities. I get right to the end, stopping right at the Click To Purchase button. But somehow that seems to have a purpose, because it could happen. It has happened. I used to travel all the time. And who knows? A bank error in my favor, a larger than expected tax refund… It could happen. Also, it’s made me a great resource for friends in need of travel recommendations. I’ve seen a great many friends take the trips I’ve meticulously planned, and have been pleased to see they had as much fun as I would have anticipated. After so much planning, I feel as if I’ve been there myself. I’ve smelled the night blooming jasmine in the courtyard, taken a nap under the world’s most perfect olive tree, been enamored of, and quickly irritated by the monkeys outside the temple. Only, I haven’t. But that’s a technicality.

I woke up this morning after dreaming about my mother. Usually I wake to a harsh alarm and remember the dream, but it immediately feels a million years away. This time I had the opportunity to remain in the groggy semi-dream state, with one foot in and one out. It was spring (which it is, but only technically). It’s full bloom spring in my dream, with soft, pale grass and azaleas. The kids are bounding from our car, my four year old kicking his legs in anticipation of taking flight, like a cartoon character (please let him never outgrow this, even when he’s 45). My eleven year old a little slower, rolling her eyes at her brother’s squealing. My mom is opening the front door of my childhood home and saying their names. My boy charges up the small hill like a sturdy little meatball, practically knocking my mother to the ground to get his hug. My daughter, rigid and frail, grudgingly accepts my mother’s embrace and tries to hide how much she enjoys it. My mother gives her a compliment and she smiles. My son demands to know if my mom has any presents for him. My daughter reprimands him, rolling her eyes again. My mom is happy. I am happy watching them. This is how it’s supposed to be.

Is it window shopping? Pointless and a little painful? Is it travel planning? Is seeing it so clearly almost as good as having lived it? I don’t know. It’s both. And the truth is, it doesn’t matter. Dreaming is something my brain does without my permission.


I would like to take a moment to remember Oren Miller, the writer at He was diagnosed with lung cancer less than a year ago, and lost his battle earlier this month. Bloggers are a dime a dozen, but the man could actually write. His infrequent posts were poignant, yet never cloying. They stayed with me long after I’d read them. They were beautiful. His wife, Beth, is equally talented with words, although I suspect she would argue with that statement. My exchanges with Oren were brief and mainly superficial, but I was pleased to know him even that much. I was extremely upset to learn of his passing, and wish his beautiful family all the best.

Marion’s Mom Bought Her Flowers

At the grocery store yesterday, I swung by the floral section to get a deep whiff of a hyacinth. An older woman appeared out of nowhere, beamed at me and said, “Don’t you love it? You love them as much as I do. I can tell by the look on your face.”

I agreed that they were wonderful. She told me she couldn’t wait for spring, that her mother used to buy her hyacinths and she planted every one by the front door, so every spring she remembers her mom. Isn’t that beautiful? I thought so. I told her so. Anyway, we chit chatted a tiny bit. The scent of hyacinth and gardenia remind me of my mom, I said. She also loved lily of the valley, but where the hell do you find those? Not in the floral department of Wegmans, that’s for sure. And then I left, because come on, it was time.

So I got to the checkout and the young woman at the register started rubbing her nose. Then her eyes turned red. Then she started sneezing so powerfully she actually dropped the little white hyacinth I’d chosen to adopt (and fully intend to kill), the bulb flying from its soily nest and landing too near the trashcans. “I guess I’m, like, allergic or something?” she asked. (Well, not really asked. You know how people under 35 are incapable of making a statement sound like a statement.)

What’s the point? There isn’t one. But it could serve as a reminder that something you find lovely and meaningful could be an aggravation to somebody else.

I Didn’t Even Know He Was Missing

I felt a twinge of panic when I read the private message from my friend M (not her real initial). She told me not to worry, that she would never ever become a bigot, in reference to her latest Facebook post, which I hadn’t read. The first thing one does when instructed not to panic is panic, of course. Had she moved to Alabama, I wondered. Had she started watching the Duggars?

She found Christ. Yesterday, of all days. And had even taken a dip in the holy dunk tank to make it official. And announced herself as a CHRISTIAN (her boldface, not mine) to all the world. And thanked her friends who had helped her on her spiritual journey.

This is my fault, I thought. I pushed her too hard to relocate to Charleston instead of Bridgeport, thinking she would prefer the mild winters and architecture. No. It couldn’t be that. She claimed to despise being surrounded by the bible beaters down there and had just joined a secular homeschool network a couple months ago. This was out of my hands.

I felt wobbly and a little ill. I never anticipated I would feel so upset by such an announcement, but it happened and I did and I had to figure out how to proceed. Carefully, I decided. Very carefully.

She told me she wouldn’t be coming up for a visit in a week, as she had planned, because her hosts had quickly found a reason why it was a bad idea. If I was reeling, they must have REALLY taken it hard, seeing as they had renovated several rooms of their home just to make her family feel welcome during their visits. Damn.

Anyway, the longer it took to respond, the more rattled I’d appear, so I commented under her post that I was happy she was happy. And you just know how badly I wanted to be snarky, especially since all her other friends welcomed her and called her sister. And then I forced myself to message her a supportive note. I told her that I expected people to be tolerant and respectful of my beliefs, so I would do the same. I told her I was pleased that she had found something that she thought would increase her joy. I told her I was very disappointed that I wouldn’t be seeing her. (That part was an understatement. Our kids are close friends. We had been looking forward to their visit for months.) I told her I wished we had the room to host them ourselves. (Again, massive understatement. I have serious square footage envy.)

She seemed extremely relieved. She said other friends had not taken it well, and that she now knew who her friends were.

But I wasn’t taking it well. I was faking it well. I felt like a conservative parent with a kid who’d just come out of the closet, forcing myself to say the right things and trying not to be grossed out by what I thought might be happening behind closed doors.

A lot of things went through my mind. The secrets I’d shared with M over the years, that she must surely be judging me for. And all the secrets she’d shared with me, things she had probably just completely forgiven herself for, praise Jesus.

I remembered how few people I actually like, and decided it would be flat out stupid to turn my back on one over invisible nonsense. I wasn’t going to be that kind of asshole. I’m a different kind of asshole. And the last thing I want to do is give atheists a bad name, which would make her dig in her heels and feel even more certain about her decision. I despise the way religion tears people apart, and I don’t want to contribute to that. It may happen anyway. Our friendship may dissolve, if not abruptly, then perhaps slowly and more naturally. But that’s not going to be on me. That will have to be her doing. I told her she’s my friend and I can’t think of any reason why that would stop.

Still, I hurt, the way you hurt when a friend marries someone you hate, but you toast their love anyway, because you have to, right, and maybe they’ll get divorced.

M has been looking for something for a long time. I tried to be supportive and understanding when she said she was going to leave her husband for a gamer she’d never met. I tried to be supportive when she changed her mind and said she was going to stay in her love-less marriage. I tried to be supportive when she went on antidepressants and suddenly seemed like she didn’t give a shit about anything at all. And when she decided she had a gluten allergy, didn’t I stand by her and nod, even when I thought everything she was saying was bunk? I did. So okay, this is her latest “thing,” and this one may last a lifetime, but it’s not my life and it’s not my choice. And I will be there for her, until she decides to discard me.


Unexpected Gifts

So my boy’s been sick. Nothing life-threatening. That hardly matters, as it takes very little to trigger my anxiety. He gets sick, I get twitchy, I stop eating, that triggers a migraine, and the next thing you know I’m down eight pounds, horribly depressed and my life becomes, to me, nothing but a world of laundry and fear.

Overly dramatic? Kind of want to tell me to get over it and put on a brave face for the kids? Yeah, so does my husband, which doesn’t help. Thing is, I’ve been a babysitter, a nanny, a daycare worker… I’ve been barfed on plenty. Anxiety goes where it goes, and since 2007, it’s gone toward noroviruses. I lose my shit. I’d rather be afraid of mice or bears or clowns or something. But it’s not up to me. My brain has chosen to focus on something invisible, sudden and practically unavoidable. Bleach, Lysol and handwashing. That’s what I’ve got in my arsenal. That’s what it takes. But you can’t realistically bleach the world, especially when you have kids, so here we are.

They get sick and I take Zofran, just trying to be the mom they need.

Okay so anyway, a neighbor came by to give my kid a balloon. I was so f***ing touched. Seriously. She doesn’t really care about me, but she’s always been very patient with my son, listening to him talk and talk and talk at the bus stop. He adores her. He calls her My Friend Stephanie. And she brought him a balloon. And it showed me that someone besides me cares about my kid, even a little, which tore me to pieces. They’re such great kids. They deserve to be loved and worried about. I hate that they don’t have my mom to love them anymore.

The balloon is still floating a week later. I’ve said thank you, the kid has thank you, but I doubt the neighbor will ever know how much it meant to us.


It’s the time of year when I find myself wishing I had a dinner table to sit at. Let me explain. I’m pro-table and my husband is not. He despises eating dinner at a table. I bought us a small table from a thrift store in Albuquerque soon after we married. He never sat at it. It was total garbage, so it didn’t make it to our one bedroom in Denver. We turned the dining nook into a home office. I went to a discount store the day before Thanksgiving and bought a floor model coffee table to serve dinner on, lugged that thing across a large parking lot while 7 months pregnant, the desire to have a table too strong to ignore. Then we had our daughter and moved to a house with a bigger dining room. We turned that one into a playroom and have been doing that ever since. Sometimes, in November, I buy a cheap table and chair set and throw it someplace awkward, eat at it on Thanksgiving and chuck it when we move. Our current dining room is filled with a bounce house, which is totally awesome, but I have table envy.

I want to sneak into my dad’s house and sit at his dining table. Actually, what I really want is to sneak back to 1986 and eat at my mom’s orange kitchen table, but that disappeared when I went to college, discarded as part of a fancy kitchen update that never impressed me. I want to sit in my weird wicker seat against the wall and rest my elbows on that ugly round table while the finches flick seeds on the floor beside me. I also wouldn’t mind sitting at the table at my grandma’s house, kicking my legs around in boredom while my mom talks family gossip with my grandmom and great-grandmom. They’re all gone now. Even the house. There’s a mcmansion there now, with a trampoline in the back, and a bunch of other mcmansions where the pear tree and gooseberry bushes ought to be.

I kind of wish I’d stormed my dad’s place when he was in the hospital, just ordered a pizza and sat the kids around the dining room table and pretended I was home for a minute, welcome in my house. My mom tried to arrange that very thing before she died. She said we’d have Game Night. Maybe once a week, she’d said. On Sundays. But it didn’t happen. My dad didn’t want that. So it didn’t happen once a week, or ever.

I love the bounce house. I’m happy we have a strange, mobile life where dining rooms can be anything we want them to be. But a small part of me craves the comfort and stability of a traditional home with a dedicated dinner space, regrets that I can’t offer that to my own children, especially at this time of year. Luckily, they don’t seem to care, so I’ll indulge the melancholy for just a moment and move on.

A Grief Workbook For Skeptics by Carol Fiore- A Review


A Grief Workbook for Skeptics by Carol Fiore is just that. If you’re looking for a long and painful essay about loss or a cool and complicated approach to handling grief by a mental health professional, this is not that book. Ms. Fiore’s self-help workbook is appropriate for the recent mourner, someone who has just been confronted with a loss and is in need of basic suggestions on how to get back to life.

The author offers a series of tasks to assist you in remembering your loved one, accepting where you are and finding a way to embrace your new different life, without faith. Her tone is friendly, conversational and informal, a gentle voice from one who’s been there. All the basic starter issues are covered here- getting rid of belongings, looking for support, deciding whether or not to move or adopt a pet. She also suggests little writing assignments to help the mourner thinks things through and organize thoughts on paper. When you are devastated and stagnating, having someone give you an assignment can be really helpful. It’s nice to have someone say, “Do this.” Even if you’re not accustomed to taking orders, the grieving version of yourself may be receptive to, and appreciative of this kind of prompt. I know I would have been.

I agree with many of the author’s suggestions, including taking time to get out outside and appreciate nature, exercising and volunteering. All of these are great ideas, and frankly, things you might need to be told to do. Just because they seem obvious doesn’t mean you’ll think of them when you’re at your lowest low. While grieving, you may need to be reminded to do things as simple as eating, sleeping or even breathing. You’re sore. Everything hurts.

I was hoping for a little more of Carol Fiore’s personal story, because she’s clearly a fascinating individual who’s led a rich life, but I assume I can find that in her other book, Flight Through Fire. But if you’ve just lost someone special, A Grief Workbook for Skeptics is a great place to start. It reads light (which is important, because you may not be ready for heavy when you’re already living heavy) and its plain-spoken tone is comforting and kind. This book feels like an afternoon out for coffee with a loving aunt, someone who will, without judgment or God talk, help give you the tools to keep on keeping on.

You can find out more about Carol at her website,, and A Grief Workbook for Skeptics can be purchased from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Things We Dare Not Say (but I can’t seem to help myself)

Hi. Long time, no see. Yeah, I’m still here. My husband’s work schedule means I’m alone with the kids all day–kids who are acting out because they miss their Daddy– so by the time they fall asleep, I’ve basically passed out on the couch. This blog isn’t the only thing I’ve ignored. My makeup hasn’t been properly removed in about two months, which is just… yikes. And I’ve had an ear infection I waited 3.5 weeks to treat, only to be told I’ll need many other appointments to get to the bottom of things. Those appointments won’t be happening, because my husband’s work schedule means I’m alone with the kids all day…… You see where I’m going with this.

Anyhoo, things are coming. I’m currently reading Grief Workbook for Skeptics by Carol Fiore. She’s the widow of experimental test pilot Eric Fiore. Now I myself am not a pilot, but I grew up in an aviation-obsessed family. I know every line from The Right Stuff  (the movie, not the book) and follow Chuck Yeager on Facebook, so that’s about all I bring to the table. My uncle was a navy pilot, shot down while flying an A-1 Skyraider over Vietnam. He survived and spent 7.5 years as a POW. My brother can fly and is an amazing aviation photographer, when he isn’t being a lawyer and musician (the talent in our family was not evenly distributed). So, grief, atheism, flying… Had to pick up a copy. Look for a review soon.

Lately, I’ve been pissing people off by not “liking” seemingly like-worthy stories, like the one about the family who created a bucket list for their unborn baby with anencephaly. Many of my friends thought that story was moving and inspiring and offered their prayers. I thought it was kind of selfish and cruel. And tragic, of course. Difference of opinion. Some people think it’s best to bring a brainless, skull-less baby into the world so he can be baptized and die four hours later. Some people think what’s in the best interest of the baby is to end things before the poor thing grows larger and and is born struggling to survive.

If you search for anencephaly, you’ll find lots of pro-life families blogging about their perfect miracle babies, often saying their children did more in a couple hours than they had in their entire lifetime. Get real. That has nothing to do with the child. The child, formed without the basic systems in place for survival, hung on for a couple hours and then died. It didn’t aim to inspire a community. It could not hear or see or feel pain or think. It didn’t appreciate having been brought to a concert as a fetus. Its body struggled to live and then stopped, and that’s it. And that’s AWFUL. I am not unsympathetic to these families. It’s a rotten thing. But I fail to see how any of this is for the baby. God doesn’t make mistakes, they say. They’re right. God didn’t make a mistake. Something went wrong and the fetus didn’t form properly. Sometimes malfunctions occur a week or two into the pregnancy, and a miscarriage results. Sometimes we don’t know something’s wrong until testing shows it, and then it’s our job as parents to make the tough decisions.

Would these parents carry any baby to term? Would anything change their minds? What if the baby was going to be born without a head? I’m not saying you can’t love a baby without a skull. Of course you can. You can love it enough to spare it from developing any further. That, to me, is just cruel. In fact, it seems superficial. They’re photographing, holding and baptizing a shell. So just because the body looks almost right, the fact that there is no one in it is immaterial? The majority of these babies are stillborn. Some live only a few hours, as the brain stem is incapable of reminding the body to breathe. This slowly deprives the organs of oxygen, and the body officially dies. I’ve seen so many people responding to this condition by saying, “Still praying for a miracle.” There is no miracle. No amount of praying or medical assistance can help a creature without a brain. Just because the baby is born looking somewhat baby-like, does not mean it’s a person capable of thought or love or life.

I’m not saying parents shouldn’t be allowed to choose to bring these babies to term. That’s a personal choice, one about which I have a personal opinion. But you know what I never see? Any of these parents mentioning the role of folic acid in reducing neural tube defects. If the goal is to inform and inspire and bring something good to the world, why not educate people on how to prevent some of these defects in the first place? Shouldn’t that be priority number one?

So no, I won’t “like” that, even if it makes me seem heartless. Maybe I am, but at least I’ve got a brain.


Low blow, right?

Yeah, see that’s the problem. I’m not entirely heartless. I don’t hate those parents. I don’t want them to feel more pain. A part of me wants to erase this whole thing because I know it will come off as nothing but negative and nasty. I mean, what does it matter if they want to continue their pregnancy and tell the world about their trips to sporting events and praise God for helping them on their journey? What harm is there?    Prolonging the child’s life probably isn’t prolonging pain, because the child cannot feel pain. And it seems a little undignified, but the child can’t experience dignity or embarassment or love or anything else. So where’s the harm? If it brings the parents joy. If it makes the experience more meaningful to the parents. Why even have an opinion about it? Why not just shut up and let people live?

And the same with grief. Why ruffle feathers? Why not let people believe the stories that make them happy? Other than my fall back position that ignorance is wrong and detrimental to the species, why even go there? Why not quietly live my life and stay out of it?

Sometimes I don’t know. I do feel a need to speak out when religion is hurting people or preventing them from having equal rights. But why here? Why express an opinion at all?

Then I read a post on a grief site. A grieving son was reading his mother’s diary where she had written that she didn’t understand why her prayers weren’t working, why she wasn’t worthy enough for a miracle. Devastating, right? My great-grandmother, in her final days, would grumpily say, “Why won’t He take me already???”

These are people who were not helped by their faith. These are people who, while dying, felt frustrated, confused and angry. Their beliefs didn’t comfort them. They make them feel unworthy. And I think that’s the way things are going. I think more and more people are feeling let down by the promises of their faith, and if that’s true, then shouldn’t we start getting real about this so we can evolve as a community and find better ways to offer real support and comfort to those in need? My heart breaks for those who are suffering quietly, confessing to their diaries because they dare not share their feelings with other Believers.

Maybe it IS harmful to keep your opinions to yourself, even if they rub some people the wrong way. Maybe saying, “Hey, if you find out your baby-to-be will immediately die and never have any kind of meaningful life because it won’t have a brain, you’re allowed to terminate the pregnancy without insulting God” isn’t negative and nasty. Maybe it’s the kind of honesty we need. Maybe some people need permission to make the tough choices. Maybe they need to know that 1) the situation they’re in wasn’t God’s will, and 2) they are ALLOWED to make a choice. A friend said she thought the parents were better people than she because she didn’t think she’d carry the baby to term. Why is that the better choice? Maybe if we take God out of the equation and admit that life is delicate, and sometimes random awful things happen to us just because, and admit that that’s kind of a scary realization, then we can go on with the business of finding realistic, humane ways of handling these situations. Maybe then, once we’re free of fantasies and superstitions, we will look at what IS and confront obstacles courageously and realistically, empowered with the knowledge that we can rely on one another and ourselves to make the best of any situation, and still live meaningful, beautiful lives.


Sheer exhaustion has my brain muddled. Recent schedule changes have me alone with the kids for 12-17 hours a day, which isn’t good for anyone, and my intelligence has taken a big hit. At night I try to read articles or stories that would ordinarily fascinate me, but I give up, finding them overly complicated. For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m falling behind in the brain department. Oh, there was that blip back in 1986 when I got my first F on an algebra test, after an academic career of straight A’s, but I made peace with that when I learned that you could be smart and still hate math. Unfortunately, I got too comfortable with the idea and began peacefully flunking other subjects, like organic chemistry and home economics. Still, I didn’t chalk it up to stupidity. I wasn’t applying myself. Anyone could, and did, see that. It was a matter of priorities. I was lazy, not stupid. And I was okay with that. But this… this is something entirely different. This is can’t-get-there-no-matter-how-hard-I-try dumbness, and I don’t like it.

I’ve started googling energy drinks. Having never even tried a Red Bull (vodka’s just fine on its own, thank you very much), I know nothing about them. I’m sure there’s some combination of energy drinks, Wellbutrin, ADHD meds and speed that would offer a pinch of clarity, but as I’ve established, I’m no chemist. Plus, that sounds expensive. And complicated. And possibly lethal.

I’ve been giving myself advice on this issue. “If you work out, you’ll have more energy. Just keep drinking that green tea. You need puzzles, exercise for the mind.” Good ideas, all, and I appreciate myself for offering them, but it’s just not fucking working.  What I need is an hour a day to myself that doesn’t involve shopping or cleaning.

I got that on Sunday. Went paddling on a new lake. It wasn’t ideal. The rental place gave me shoddy equipment, a kayak with no seat back and missing foot pegs, and a paddle that was all wrong somehow. But it didn’t matter. I was free. And when the boy spills his yogurt and the girl throws her textbook against the wall, I close my eyes for two seconds and hear the insects buzzing at the shoreline and the water gently slapping the boat and I’m just gone.




You know what’s not complicated? Moving a boat from this place to that, using an aluminum stick. I see a thing I want to see closer and I do. I tell the boat to go left and it does. Sometimes the wind blows and it’s a little harder, and I can choose to fight against it or give up, and it’s pretty good either way. I put myself in the boat. Anything else that happens is manageable. If I screw up, I might get wet or tired, but no one else will get hurt. In every other aspect of my life, my choices can hurt people. That’s a hell of a burden. Freeing myself from these obligations from time to time is essential. I wish I could say it clears my head, but those effects don’t linger. The fog returns about a minute after my legs hit the land. Still, I’m grateful for these short reprieves.

You get what you get and you don’t get upset. That’s a line from a kiddie book, and it’s a lie. Of course you get upset. You get what you get and you try to keep your shit together because that’s what growing up is all about. It’s a shame that doesn’t rhyme.

Anyway, that’s all I’m trying to do, keep my shit together. Tired and stupid and fumbling, but still here, still trying to figure it out, still trying to make it good. And googling energy drinks like somebody’s clueless grandma.

The Other Side of Things

My mother’s birthday came and went. I bought an ice cream cake for the kids, one of those cheesy things from the grocery store with the icing that stains your teeth. I’d bought one for my mom a few years before, when her birthday coincided with one of our visits back east. It’s not always easy to arrange things when you’re from out of town. She seemed to enjoy it well enough, though, or maybe she just appreciated that someone made an effort. It didn’t go over so well this time. My son is the only one who really ate any of it, and we ended up throwing most of it in the trash. I asked my daughter if she wanted to share any good memories of my mom and she refused, started bawling, then ran to her room (which is what she does all the time anyway, so I can’t judge how much of that was genuine). So, you know, that was that.

I’ve been on the other side of grief a lot lately, having to be the one to offer condolences. Other special people’s special people keep dying. It’s so damn tricky, isn’t it? Trying to find the right words, the right gesture. It’s particularly tricky when they’re religious. I’ve had to learn about the various religious practices before even reaching out, just to make sure I didn’t insult anyone. Religious people tend to get more so during times of despair, and the last thing I want to do is draw attention to the fact that I’m a clueless heathen. I mean, they already know that about me. I don’t keep it a secret. But there’s a time and a place. When someone is grieving, I try to minimize the differences between us and speak from a place of heartfelt sympathy. I don’t want them thinking, “Oh, look. Here comes the atheist. She’s probably going to say something snarky.” I wouldn’t do that. I think it pretty hard, but I won’t say it.

So I do what I do. I keep things brief, honest, using spare language to address the main points which are, of course, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘that sucks.’ And I send food. And I fret over that plenty, too. Cookies are too playful. Cakes too festive. Fruit too prone to spoilage. Nothing too cheap or too showy. Nothing too obvious or obscure. I know it’s most likely going to be received with indifference or basic gratitude. That’s not the point. I really do try to get it as right as I can. We can’t control death. We can’t control emotion. We can control what kind of gift baskets to send to a sad person, so I do. Simple as that.

But still, I feel like I’m always putting my foot in my mouth. I guess we all do. It’s just a messy, awkward situation. The important thing, I guess, is to go ahead and say something and do something. Then, no matter what, at least you’re not the person who was too chickenshit to speak up. I have a lot of respect for the people who reached out to me after my mom died. Some had never spoken to me personally before. Those were good people, and I won’t ever forget it. It meant the world to me.

Still, not being able to contribute to the “better place,” “In God’s loving arms,” “you’ll see her again” conversation kind of sucks. Those are comforting words to some, and not being able to comfort others in that way makes me feel like my friendship is inferior, like I can only take my relationship with certain people so far.

I’m lucky that my parents share(d) my lack of faith. We didn’t see eye to eye on plenty of things (they’re significantly taller than me), but we agreed on religion and politics. When I talked to my mother in law after my father in law died, she was in that zone, you know. She was going to see him again one day and he was communicating with her (by sending a dragonfly to comfort her, good thing he didn’t die in January) and God had a plan… I’m not close to the woman, so it was easy to smile politely. I’ve never had religious differences with the people closest to me. My heart goes out to those who’ve had to struggle with that. Or any of those issues, really. Sexuality, political disagreements, ketchup versus mustard on hot dogs. *shudder*


Two Years

Two years. And today is nothing like that day. First off, it’s a Sunday, which has an entirely different feel than a Friday, so that’s good. And there’s no urgency today, no desperate desire to grab the clock and turn it back a few hours and have everything be right again. Too far removed for that. Even though they’re both impossible, it still feels more possible to reverse time by just a little. Two years out, it’s clear that can’t ever happen. Superman couldn’t even do that. And the weather is altogether different. Hot and stale, not the drenching rains of that Friday, that cleared to reveal a plump red sunset that I managed to appreciate even though….

But, I still find myself thinking… Okay, it’s been two years. Certainly, I can have her back now. I mean, hasn’t this gone on long enough? I’m not expected to live without her forever, right? Who could ever do that?

And the answer is no, not forever. Nothing lasts forever. Not the people we miss or the people who miss them. That’s just the way it is.



Kids Without Religion

Raising kids as independent, logical thinkers.

Loco Del Calor

Life in the Valley of the Spun

Gaming, Women, and Me

A topnotch site

Forever Infertile

My journey through infertility, pregnancy, and parenting.

loving and letting go

healing is as much about finding, as it is about letting go.

bedraggled & kicking

Life is confounding. So is death (as observed by a mere mortal).


Cooking, crafting, and writing!

Deluded Students

Sharing research on the Jehovah's Witnesses religion and other movements.

Pretentious Ape

a humanist blog


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