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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Based on the poem, it would appear that this gracious deity allowed CM to suffer considerably, rather than simply TAKE HER and stop said suffering forthwith.  Further, he allowed her loved ones to suffer in suspense as to whether their deity would intervene on her behalf or not, then grieve when he figured, NAAAAH!

Not that it's news, but their god is a bastard and a sadist.

Aren't you a prejudiced witness?

Yeah ... so?

Even a biased witness can tell the truth.

Hi James, I too visit the online local news pages to look through the obits. I am a nurse and work at a large cancer center in my state. The questions that you posed are constantly in my thoughts.  I hear co-workers talk of prayers and having faith and it makes me sick. I understand that while a person may feel comfort by the false belief that God is there with them, perhaps going to take them to heaven, but I want to ask, have they honestly thought this whole thing through, the answer being, of course not.  I say nothing, I nod to their proclamations that God is in control. It is mentally exhausting.  

You are right, there is no God, the suffering that I see attests to that. I wish you the best in your treatment, great advances are being made with your type of cancer, I praise the doctors and scientists working to make it happen.

Take care :) 

Oh, hey, Kathy, as much praise goes to the nurses in the infusion rooms as to the MD'S.  My oncologist is a Lebanese-American and he is a genius, but the nurses are very understanding, caring, and compassionate.  One does not have to be a Christian (or member of any religion) to be that way.  I always tell them how fortunate I am because during my two regimes of chemo (Cytoxin and Fludarabine the first time; Rituxan the second) I witnessed so many people at the very door of death it made me feel very very small to even think that I was put upon, have that silly "Why me?" b.s., poor, poor me, &c.  If some Christians had their way, scientists would not even be able to do research.  Look at George W. Bush curtailing stem cell experimentation as a nod to the religious right that helped him get to the Supreme Court.  Look at the last GOP platform which said that one of the goals of the party was to end education in "critical thinking."  Without critical thinking, we wouldn't even have penicillin.  Thank you so much for your kind words, and God bless you!  Tee hee.  (Spoken in the spirit of Luis Bunuel, who said "Thank God I'm an atheist!")

I do not pray to gods or people. 

Loren is right, the god of the christians is a sadist.  I don't know about whether his parents were married to each other so will hold on that part.

I imagine big pharma would be annoyed if they could actually cure cancer.  Much more lucrative to convert cancers into chronic long term illnesses with expensive treatments.  That's the cynic in me.

As or that poem, the grief saddens me.  The ignorance annoys me.  I understand grief and know how it feels, but the poem is pathetic.

'We are emanations of the Earth and to the earth we return'

That headline sounds like something Jack Nicholson could have said in The Shining. Or something.

You do me proud, lol.  Naw, I just think people need to accept the fact that we all die.  It is the price we pay for being born.  Now, I have to get back to work.  You know, all work and no play makes Jim a dull boy.

My reaction to the poem was to laugh: 

"God saw she was getting tired and a cure was not to be" ... so get real, hold her hand, make her as comfortable as possible and listen to what she has to say.

"So He put His arms around her and whispered 'Come with me' ... really? Do you refer to God putting his arms around her and speaking? Someone is delusional in this scene. 

"With tear filled eyes we watched her suffer and fade away. ... Did it occur to you that she could have wanted assistance in dying? Don't just stand there, let her do something!

"Although we loved her deeply we could not make her stay. ... Did she live a good, rich, full, interesting life? Then let go, for goodness sake. Who wants to linger with a bunch of teary eyed delusional people sitting around waiting for the end? 

"A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands put to rest. ... Well, it is about time someone took over the responsibility for getting the chores done without being reminded! 

"God broke our hearts to prove to us He only takes the best. ... Oh? "He only takes the best"? It seems to me that jackass husband of hers died and gave her some relief!

"A thousand words won't bring back, we know because we've tried, ... Good grief, yada yada yada. Let the poor woman return to atoms from whence she came. 

"neither will a thousand tears, we know because we've cried." ... Well, you can cry if you want to, but if it were me dying, have a huge celebration, remember all the interesting things I have done and unusual people I have met, and laugh out loud and robustly at my many-times-told-stories. I won't hear you, but you will remember, and feel happy to have known me. 

Of course "God," being omnipotent, could make sure science found a cure, but because there is no God, scientists must rely on the largesse of Big Pharma and government in the development of cures.  "God broke our hearts to prove to us He only takes the best" -- why does God think this woman is one of the best?  And if she is so special why did God take her?  How do we know that a dying child in Darfour is not among the best, a person who never even had a chance to survive starvation?  That child might have grown up, gotten a scholarship, gone to med school, and developed a cure for the disease that took these peoples' loved one.  Is the whole purpose of "God" the bestowing on believers the selfish, egocentric conviction that they are among "the best"?  However heart-felt, the poem is one of the dumbest statements of belief I have come across in a long, long time.




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