I rarely buy the local daily it has gotten so scant while the price keeps going up.  Days that I do buy it, I linger over the impossibly absurd memorials on the obit page.  I discovered this gem in yesterday's paper and thought it might amuse you.  Maybe it's my age, but I am constantly reading the first paragraphs of obits in the local rag just to see how many people tell me how a love one has "gone to be with the Lord" or now finds him or her "resting in the arms of the Lord" or other deluded, completely illogical euphemisms for "died" or "passed" or "passed away."  The memorials are something else.  Considering the high cost of a display ad in the paper, it always amazes me when people shell out hundreds of dollars to tell us how much they miss a brother, cousin, Aunt Betsy or Sister Sarah.  Sometimes they resort to poetry, as in this lone ad yesterday:

"In loving memory of [C.M.], Nov. 15, 1970 - Aug. 9, 2002

"11th Anniversary

"God saw she was getting tired and a cure was not to be,/So He put His arms around her and whispered 'Come with me'/With tear filled eyes we watched her suffer and fade away./Although we loved her deeply we could not make her stay./A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands put to rest./God broke our hearts to prove to us He only takes the best.

"A thousand words won't bring back, we know because we've tried,/neither will a thousand tears, we know because we've cried."

Far be it from me to criticize anyone poetasting; I am a prose craftsman and composed about a half-dozen poems in my time.  But I cannot resist pointing out the fallacies in the poem, beginning with the simple question, "Why couldn't God have cured the loved one?  I happen to have chronic leukemia.  I pray to science rather than God.  And science is at the threshold of finding a cure for this, the most common form of leukemia.  As most know, Big Pharma prioritizes discovery of cures according to how large the group of people suffering from a particular ailment or disease.  Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (or CLL) is the most widespread form of the blood disorders, and research is intense to find its undoing.  In my own time with the disease, at least one form of leukemia has been conquered by a cure that involves nothing more than taking a ill.  The last resort for CLL patients is a bone marrow transplant, and the procedure for that has been streamlined considerably.  If "God saw [C.M.] was getting tired and a cure was not to be," why have faith in Him at all?  If He is all-powerful and good, why did he give C.M. the disease in the first place?

There is no god but Man.

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Apparently, along with critical thinking, the concept of original thinking has also escaped them.

Indeed, and with all the cliches! Not an original thought in the whole piece. 

Oh, my.  I should have known.


My best wishes for successful treatment. 

Your post is a peek into the elaborate architecture of the religious psychosis.  Death happens because God wants the deceasd to be "with" him, given that he, as you note, cannot cure the patient.  Also, death is "rest."  And God takes only the best - everyone else goes to hell, I suppose.

This crap flies in the face of the reality of life and death.  Consider: God lets my Mother, whose God-belief is just short of superstition, live to 95, while he "took" my father at the early age of 69.  But Dad was a skeptic and an atheist.  What does God want with him?

God did not want your dad.  I talked to Saint Peter the other day and he said,"That guy?  Fuck no!  We sent him to Hell.  He's down there chatting with Voltaire, Hitchens, and Samuel Clemens.  We sent all those guys down there.  Up here you gotta be special so you can meet Jerry Falwell, among our special guests."  Consider Dad lucky (well, in a way).

"There is no god but Man."  I love it.  WE (or our future distant, distant, distant, distant...offspring) are the accident of evolution that will hopefully make something meaningful and kind and purposeful out of nonsensical existence in a nonsensical universe.  WE are the ones who have found ourselves in a cruel, indifferent universe with the possibility of changing things, for ourselves and other creatures. 


I too totally dislike the euphemisms for the word DIED.  A member of my extended family DIED yesterday and immediately her relatives (otherwise smart, scientific, rational people) have this deceased lady turning into a guardian angel watching over her grandchild "on earth" and dancing in heaven with her recently deceased husband.  They fantasize about the great reunion of these DEAD PEOPLE WHO NO LONGER HAVE FUNCTIONING BRAINS AND THUS NO CONSCIOUSNESS.  Are they NUTS?  Is it just a knee jerk reaction?  Something scary and painful like death happens and they just immediately fall into fairy tale fantasies to ease the pain?  How can they do it with a straight face?  And the REAL question-- do they KNOW this stuff is nonsense on any level at all?

The only thing the poem promotes in me is my gag reflex.

I think that it is very natural to fear death. But, why fear the inevitable? Death is the one certainty that people have to look forward to. My opinion, its the time of no worries, rest, non-existence. In a world filled with stress and violence and hate and suffering what could be a better conclusion? If heaven has existed since "the beginning" I wonder how many trillions would be there? Thats not my idea of paradise after this life! Trapped in an over crowded world (more so than this world) for eternity! To each his own, I guess!

I am sure the believers would tell you there are so many mansions in "the Lord's" house you would not even have any contact with the great number of them, any more than you have contact with, say, Australian aborigines.  Theists come up with explanations for everything and probably would tell you that most of the dead are in Hell, not Heaven.  The idea that there is no afterlife once consciousness ceases, subjective reality being the only kind there is, is anathema to the faithful.  They would say life is pointless unless it is lived with a view toward the afterlife.  The sad thing, to me, is that once their consciousness ceases (i.e. they are brain dead and therefore simply dead) they will not have any sort of enlightenment concerning the error of their way of thinking.  Once dead they will not be able to see that they are, simply, dead, that there is no heaven nor hell and that they have wasted much of their lives pursuing the unattainable, all the while trying to impose their superstitious dogma on others. I mean, it's sad that I will die at the same time some believer dies and I will not be able to look at them, shake my head, and say, "I told you so!"

I have a T shirt that reads: "Future corpses of America"

James, two friends of my daughter's, all in Pend Oreille County volunteer Fire Dept 8, have recently been diagnosed with leukemia. They have water wells,and the possible cause is Radon.
What has been your experience living with leukemia? I hope you don't mind my asking. We are all learning about the disease and finding out all we can. One is in the hospital and on chemo; he is under 50 years old. He expects to be there for over a month. I appreciate any insight you can offer.

Your daughter's friends may be damned if they do, damned if they don't.  My leukemia may have been caused by something in the old house I moved into about 30 years ago.  Most often, leukemia is idiopathic.  I will never know what caused it.  But chemo can cause other problems.  I may have lost sight in one eye from it, but it could have been other things, too.  If the leukemia is acute, there may not be much time left for them.  If it is chronic, like mine, they can live for years and die of natural causes.  I was just "lucky" in getting chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, the easiest to deal with. I have had two chemos, one in 2000 and another in 2009, but new drugs are coming onto the market all the time according to my blood doctor.  Tell them to find a good oncologist. I was lucky we have one here. I wish them all best luck. Not believing in God, it is all I can do for them.  I shall not pray.


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