Monday, April 27, 2009

Comforting the Nonexistent

There is not a lot to say to comfort a person when they know someone they love is going to die, but it seems there is even less to say to an atheist. I've been to far to many worship services and prayer circles in the past few days. Countless times I've been told that 'things are in Gods hands.' They tell stories of heaven and hell. Places I had forgotten people truly believed existed. Places that are fantasy lands to me. Places that, for me, my grandfather will not go. I am glad the idea that he will raise up to the clouds and live again eternally is comforting to him and to the rest of my family, but it left me empty. Feeling guilty and alone through the passage of sorrow. How do you comfort an atheist at the time of death? When the only life we live for is ending, when the moment of nonexistence is again to return, what is left to comfort us?


It was difficult for me to understand at first, but that is what we have. We have everything in our belief of nothingness. There is so much beauty in the simple belief that we are born, that we live, and that one day, we die. There is wonder and mystery in everything in between existence and non existence. There is much life to be lived, and much love to be remembered for those of us still living. I asked my friend to console me without mention of God or the afterlife. Something that would make sense when it felt like things were falling apart. This is what he told me -

"Nonexistence isn't a terrible thing to conceive of. We were dead a long time before we were born and it didn't hurt a bit. Besides, admitting that someone no longer exists makes the time they spent with us seem more precious." -Andrew Blinkinsop

I've had the privileged of living my life with Tata. Privileged that I've had time to learn from him throughout my few years, and even more in the past few days. His words that were once unending are numbered now, but I have gotten so much out of the last few. Breathes that have made me smile and cry and learn to live the rest of my life more full of life than I would have had I not known him to be the man he is. His strength, his love, his passion for life is incredible. These qualities that he has shown us are now qualities we must live to continue his memory. This along with the memory of his laugh and his smile are the greatest gifts he could give as he ends his journey.

Our journey is not over. We continue to exist and we must fill our existence with what he has taught us. Las dos cosas mas importantes que me a decido en estos dias son que educacion es muchos mas de libros y informacion, es la passion que biene con la procesa de discubrier nuvas cosos y lo que haces con esa informacion para ayudad a otras persons. La secunda es que siempre debemos reir y sonreir porque eso es lo que nos deja joben. Tambien enfatica la familia. Sin la familia estamos solos, pero con la familia, nunca vamos a estar solos. Ay tantas cosas que yo a aprendido de Tata. Dodas me dan la seguridad que la vida es buena y ay muchos cosas increibles que todavia no an pasado. Tata nunca voy a poder dicer te quanto te amo y quanto me as influido mi vida.

"The soles of our shoes are all worn down. The time to sleep is now. It's nothing to cry about. We'll hold each other soon in the blackest of rooms. If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied. Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs. If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks, I will follow you into the dark." -Deathcab for Cutie

Tata has lived more and seen more than most people do in a lifetime. His body is worn, but his spirit like his love will endure until the very end. He may not live eternally behind pearly gates, but he will be much more alive in the love I have for him, the love I will spread in his name, and the love that will continue to grow once I pass because I will have told the story of his life
to those who I love as he loves me.

Goodnight Tata, Te amo con todo me corazon y voy a continuir a amar te y amar la vida como usted.