Author Topic: Free to a Good Home  (Read 843 times)

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Offline abbysometh1ng

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Free to a Good Home
« on: December 15, 2013, 05:45:50 PM »
Hi.
I am brand new to this forum, though I read WWGHA years ago and loved it!  Although not by any means new to atheism, this is the first time I have posted on a forum that discusses this aspect of my life.

I raised my 2 sons as a single parent for the past 20 years…I was very close with my sons, who were just small when I left their father.  My marriage was very abusive emotionally, mentally, and, eventually, physically.  I was raised Free Methodist and, although I was never overly religious, and it all seemed so fairy-tale-ish to me, the indoctrination I received as a child was instrumental in keeping me in a marriage should have ended.  My ex used religion to manipulate me (you know…turn the other cheek, forgive 70 X 7, loyalty and submission to hubby, if something is going bad – pray harder).  I was sworn to secrecy and was denied therapy because, my ex, as the bread-winner, would tell me that our problems were my fault and if I would just do everything he wanted, like a good Christian wife should, there would BE no problems.  I stepped back, just to keep my sanity, and began to question EVERYTHING that I believed. And I slowly realized how my ingrained religious beliefs were keeping me in a situation that only I had the ability to escape. When I finally crawled out of that mess I was a different person ….but, in retrospect, not in a bad way.

What I came out as was a full atheist. I needed NO ONE to tell me how I should think or feel.  I needed NO ONE to tell me that I was sinning by not being able to try to keep my family together anymore.  I was responsible for my own choices, just as my ex was responsible for his.  I don’t regret my religious upbringing, I learned a lot about myself in rejecting it…and I was determined NOT to raise my sons to fear and feel guilt over religious doctrines. I put myself through college, a bio major, and raised my sons to be independent thinkers.

My son, Joe, died 2 months ago. He was a brilliant, loving, giving person, who also was atheistic, like me.  Now, I may be biased, but he had the potential to change the world (he was a semi- evil computer genius). He was diagnosed with brain cancer shortly after he turned 24. This cancer was so aggressive that he was given no chance of survival.

I was very fortunate that I was able to take time off from my career to care for Joe half way across the country, but it was the most painful time of my life.  Over an 8 month period, I watched him lose his newly-won independence, I watched his brilliant brain slowly shut down, I watched his natural curiosity and quirky sense of humor disappear.   My mom, my only remaining parent, was diagnosed with liver cancer at the same time Joe was diagnosed; she died one day before I could get my son back from TX to PA to see her.  My son’s fiancée decided, a few months before his death, to pop a handful of his pain pills and slit her wrists in our front yard…she survived but I had to commit her to a mental health facility.  Afterwards, she needed to break away from my son for her own health…it was destroying her.  Joe ended up in a full-care facility, unable to say more than a few simple words.

 My first-born son died in my arms on a bright, beautiful October day, and I am still processing this ridiculous tragedy.  I am at peace with my decisions… I did everything that I could for him, and I have no regrets or second-guesses as to whether I could have done more.  My family, who are all very religious, have been very supportive throughout…but their idea of what s comforting simply doesn’t work for me.  I tried not to take offense… I think prayer helps them feel more in control, like they are DOING something. But there is no “unknowable plan”, no “things happen for a reason”, no “god will not give you more than you can handle”. I will admit that I am looking for answers, but I also know that I will not find them in religion….that childlike belief, like the belief in Santa Clause, is just not there in me.  Reality is what it is … and sometimes it just bites.
 
It has been one f’n rough year.
 
I am strongly atheistic, so I thought I would join this forum to keep my mind busy.  And I could use a good laugh every now and again...and this forum seems like a good fit for my humor.

Hope to talk to you all soon.

Abby

Offline Traveler

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2013, 06:11:18 PM »
Hello Abby and welcome. I' m so sorry for your losses. You sound like a strong and intelligent person, and I wish you well.
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Offline jetson

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2013, 06:16:04 PM »
Welcome.  I cannot imagine the feeling of losing a child, no matter their age.

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2013, 06:21:25 PM »
Hi, Abby, welcome to WWGHA.  I'm very sorry for your loss.  I hope you'll be able to heal soon and begin to live again.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2013, 06:23:10 PM »
Abby

It is always sad to hear that a young person has lost their life. My youngest son is just a year younger than Joe was, and I have no trouble imaging similar pain. But imagining is nothing like actually experiencing it. And I lost my father to cancer three years ago, so the stresses of your mothers death are obvious to me. My heart goes out to you and yours.

I thought I should say that before I say welcome. Because you indeed are, but that seemed secondary to acknowledging your grief.

If you wanted to be dependent on us for psychological recovery, you'd be in big trouble. But if you are here for the camaraderie and a little fun, a little angry gnashing of teeth and a little blowing off of steam, then you're in the right place. You will have to be tolerant of certain major flaws. At least in me. But if you can handle that, you'll enjoy it here.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline G-Roll

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2013, 07:01:47 PM »
I am at peace with my decisions…

It was good to read that part. I can't claim to know what you feel or what you experienced but the acknowledgement that you had done all you could, and even perhaps a little more in a situation that no one can remedy or control seems to help heal. Even if just a little.

Anyway... that is a lovely fish you have there!

Offline magicmiles

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2013, 07:04:49 PM »
Hi Abby

I too am sorry to hear of the loss you have experienced.

Welcome to the forum and I hope you enjoy participating.

I am one of the Christians who regualrly contributes a perspective on things.

MM
The 2010 world cup was ruined for me by that slippery bastard Paul.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2013, 07:10:30 PM »
Wow Abby.  Thank you so much for sharing your painful story.  I cannot imagine how you have endured the past year of your life. 

May you find support, knowledge, stimulation and kinship on this forum. 

Offline abbysometh1ng

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2013, 07:13:25 PM »
Thanks for the welcome, guys

ParkingPlaces, that's exactly what I want:

 But if you are here for the camaraderie and a little fun, a little angry gnashing of teeth and a little blowing off of steam, then you're in the right place.

I love Dawkin's sense of humor, and I see a lot of it on here...I am a bit rusty on bible quotes, but love to hear the arguments!  Just what I need to distract me and put a smile on my face.

And G-Roll, caught him and 3 more just like him on a hotdog!

Offline magicmiles

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2013, 07:24:56 PM »

And G-Roll, caught him and 3 more just like him on a hotdog!

The 2010 world cup was ruined for me by that slippery bastard Paul.

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2013, 12:51:22 AM »
Welcome, abby. I look forward to seeing you around the forum.


FWIW, sorry for your losses. Thank you for sharing your remarkable, very human story so honestly.

Here's a poem that seemed appropriate:

A Year’s Survival
                     
A cast-up conch struggles
patiently back seaward,
great cone of its shell
trenching grit and pebbles.

The powerful foot ripples,
gripping for body coiled deep
in spiral darkness, yearning
to be back in rocking water.

Gulls squeal, ravens call as they
glean stranded fish, limping crabs.
Bright bird stares calculate the
conch’s size, knobbed shell, move on.

Gasping silently, its mantle drying,
the big snail pull-slides, pull-slides
down the long incline, morning
waves surging to embrace it.

Next year’s storm rolls the great
shell back, now empty. Wondering,
a child lifts it, marveling at the
imperial purple of the inner spindle.

Above gulls cry again, mourning
flesh only the sea remembers.

C. Cooper
« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 01:00:15 AM by wright »
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
--Marcus Aurelius

Offline wolfunchained

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2013, 03:14:43 AM »
Hi abby

I am sorry to hear about your son, im looking at my 2 year old boy and i couldnt imagine what you are going through.
I really respect that you got away from your husband, my mother in law stuck it out in a dredful marridge for years because her parents told her that marridge is for life. They were seventh day adventists.

I have even more respect that when your son died you diddnt run back to the old habits and pray.  I think thats huge.

Welcome to the forum, i am also a newbie on here and i look forward to your contributions.

Wolfie
now I've broken through the glass, im lacerated from my past, I climbed over my prison walls, the pain was delightful.

Offline abbysometh1ng

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2013, 09:11:01 PM »
Again, thanks for all your welcomes and condolences. I did hesitate in laying all that out there on a forum, but then I figured… what the hell, you don’t know me, maybe someone could benefit… maybe someone out there is in the process of questioning their religion and needs to hear that it’s OK to examine their beliefs and live their lives as best they can without relying on something that falls apart when they take their blinders off.  Maybe they need to know that normal, everyday people can make good choices and responsible decisions, be loving and caring, without the guidance of an imaginary deity or the fear of burning in an imaginary hell. 

 Magicmiles, by the photo you sent, I’m assuming you take the written word literally?   ;D

And I appreciate the poem, Wright…it reminds me of the relentless changes and vast time spans of nature…I mentioned in one of my posts that I am an avid fossil hunter.  One of the weird things I feel comforted by is the fact that time continues to go on. The fossils that I usually find (the ones in my area of PA) are at least 280 million years old. Makes you pretty humble when you realize that Pangaea was just coming together at that time, trilobites were swimming around and mammals weren’t quite here yet.  I have the same sense of wonder as that child in the poem when I uncover an ammonite or seashell in the mountains where I live.

Talk to you soon,

Abby

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2013, 09:55:18 PM »
And I appreciate the poem, Wright…it reminds me of the relentless changes and vast time spans of nature…I mentioned in one of my posts that I am an avid fossil hunter.  One of the weird things I feel comforted by is the fact that time continues to go on. The fossils that I usually find (the ones in my area of PA) are at least 280 million years old. Makes you pretty humble when you realize that Pangaea was just coming together at that time, trilobites were swimming around and mammals weren’t quite here yet.  I have the same sense of wonder as that child in the poem when I uncover an ammonite or seashell in the mountains where I live.

Talk to you soon,

Abby

One of the things we should love about not being a fundamentalist christians is that we're not stuck with a miserably short history. We've got billions of years to appreciate, and wonders like your 280 million year old trilobites. Plus there are people out there studying everything and telling us more and more about our world and our universe every day.

It is great that we can enjoy the past. It beats the heck out of being stuck in it.

Again, welcome Abby. And I agree with G-Roll. Nice fish!

Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2013, 10:18:43 PM »
Thank you for your response to the poem; I'm happy that you got what you did from it.

One of the things we should love about not being a fundamentalist christians is that we're not stuck with a miserably short history. We've got billions of years to appreciate, and wonders like your 280 million year old trilobites. Plus there are people out there studying everything and telling us more and more about our world and our universe every day.

It is great that we can enjoy the past. It beats the heck out of being stuck in it.

Again, welcome Abby. And I agree with G-Roll. Nice fish!

What PP said.

On a hike with my family the other day, my sister and I marveled at the layers revealed in the cliffs along the coast. From the tilted Monterey Shale at the base to the compressed layers of sand- and limestone above and the flinty, chalky coastal soil nearer the surface; it was clear we were looking at layers of Time itself.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
--Marcus Aurelius

Offline Ataraxia

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2013, 10:03:56 AM »
Hi Abby and welcome to the forum.

There's not really anything one can say about the loss you have sustained - I can only state I am sorry to hear it. I can't stretch my empathy to a point where I can even begin to understand how it feels.

However, I take a huge positive by the fact that you are even able to talk and write about this in some considerable detail so soon after the events. That I find admirable and humbling, and it also puts any personal little grievances in to perspective for anyone who reads it. I like you a lot already - a strong, ballsy woman, who although gets knocked down to the lowest point imaginable, still manages to take it on the chin, get up, dust herself down and try to make real sense of it.

I know I've only had the tinniest glimpse of you, your life and what you've had to deal with, but my initial instincts from what I have seen would lead me to say that your son would be proud of you. I salute you.
"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." - Voltaire

Offline Shaffy

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2013, 03:34:55 PM »
Welcone Abby!
Im so sorry for your losses. I hope you have a great time on the forum and can relax through life with us :D

-Shaffy
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Offline Jonny-UK

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2013, 01:42:31 AM »
Welcome to the forum Abby.
It has been one f’n rough year.
You certainly have had one. As otheres have said, I feel so sad for your last year.
I hope the happy memories will soon be in your thoughts more than the painful ones you have now.

Quote
Reality is what it is … and sometimes it just bites.
So true.

 
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Offline Fiji

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2013, 06:44:05 AM »
Welcome Abby,

I'm sorry for your loss, of course.
I can't imagine either of my kids dying. Seriously, I can't. I sometimes, when my son did something massively dangerous again, wonder what it'd be like to lose one of my kids and I can't. My brain just shuts down, refuses to process.

Science: I'll believe it when I see it
Faith: I'll see it when I believe it

Schrodinger's thunderdome! One cat enters and one MIGHT leave!

Without life, god has no meaning.

Offline Andy S.

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2013, 01:05:14 PM »
Welcome to the forum Abby!

I think you came to the right place to get some good humor, learn a few new things, associate with like minded people, and YES, let off some steam.  Like everyone here I can't imagine loosing my own son, and my heart breaks for you. 

I was in the hospital with my mother while she was undergoing surgery (she's okay) and people from her church were coming by, praying and offering their support.  Both she and my father are Baptist.  While I appreciate the "community" that church offers, I can't stand the comments that just naturally slide out of their mouths. So much of what is said to someone in their time of need doesn't seem to have much biblical basis.  You must be a very strong woman indeed  to put up with all that talk as long as you did without totally going off on some people about their "belief's".  I don't think I could have done it.

My wife has a very religious family as well (we are both now atheists). When her Grandmother died the hospice nurse said that she has seen many people die and "religious" people seem to die more peacefully than non-religious people.  Now my wife found that curious (she was still, barely, a Christian at the time).  Although I think the hospice nurse meant that to be comforting my wife just thought that maybe all religions were correct OR they all offered the same placebo afterlife pill. 

I would love to see "out" atheists in hospice care and as hospital chaplain's.  It would benefit our community greatly. 

Anyway, welcome, I look forward to seeing you around.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 01:06:46 PM by Andy S. »
"The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries, that have afflicted the human race, have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion."
~Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

Offline Chronos

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2013, 10:33:11 PM »
Abby, welcome to the forum! I'm sorry to hear about your son because that would be devastating, but I admire your determination and persistence. These situations are not easy for atheists when everyone else's answer is to pray.

John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Wasserbuffel

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2013, 09:37:04 AM »
Reality is what it is … and sometimes it just bites.
 

How true.

Offline The Gawd

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Re: Free to a Good Home
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2013, 10:05:48 AM »
Welcome Abby.

That is quite a lot that you gave us and I am sorry for your losses. The posters here should certainly keep your mind busy during this time.