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Dealing with death

Dealing with death
« on: November 13, 2010, 11:50:14 PM »
Hello everyone, this is my first post on here but I just wanted to ask how people here dealt with death of loved ones. My rabbit, Seabiscuit, just passed away about 6 weeks ago and it's been really hard for me. He was my baby and I loved him so much for the 8 years that he was with me. He was such a good friend and companion to me, and I can't stand the fact that he is gone.

I've been getting a lot of support from my fellow rabbit owning friends, however lots of times when people try to comfort me, they mention the Rainbow Bridge- basically pet heaven. I just can't find comfort in this at all because I don't believe in life after death. I have questioned my faith lots of times and have gone from being a atheist to agnostic- but life after death has never made sense to me. Sometimes when I'm in my room at night I wish that I could see Biscuit or have a "sign" from him that he's there (something that many of my friends have claimed to have happen to them), but I know in my heart that he is gone. I'm trying so hard to deal with his death but I just can't, I can't come to terms with the fact that what I loved about him- his quirky personality and his naughty antics- are no longer there. I put his ashes into a teddy bear (kind of weird, I know) and thought that hugging that when I'm sad would help but I just can't feel "him" inside there if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I was wondering how you fellow non-believers dealt with the death of your loved ones, and what sort of coping techniques you have?

Will

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Re: Dealing with death
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2010, 12:08:10 AM »
I'm sorry about your rabbit. I've had a dog die and it's every bit as painful as losing a best friend or family member.

Remember that it's perfectly normal to have a period of sadness and mourning when you lose a loved one, by they furry or not. It's a true absence, one which takes time to heal.

During the period of mourning, I find it's good to reflect back on cherished memories. Think of the funny things that happened with Seabiscuit. Think of how well you cared for Seabiscuit, and how, in his own way, he appreciated being cared for and loved. If your rabbit is anything like the pets I've had, the relationship was mutually enriching and wonderful. Seabiscuit probably had a truly fantastic, full life because of your hard work and dedication.

As time passes, the sadness will numb into acceptance and closure while the feelings of happy nostalgia will remain.
I want bad people to look forward to and celebrate the day I die, because if they don't, I'm not living up to my potential.

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Re: Dealing with death
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2010, 03:38:42 AM »
Sorry about your bunny.

My family, religious or not, handles death of a relative by drinking a lot and talking about all the good times we had together.  I'm apparently a lot more emotional because I add a ton of crying on top of that yet no one else seems to.

We just learn to move on and hold onto the memories.  It still makes me sad to think of my grandad who was taken from me by a stroke and then had to wait over 3 years to actually die...it's harder when you never got a chance to say goodbye.  :(

I've found that it makes the mourning process worse when people tell me that their in a better place because I know that isn't true but also am very drawn to such an idea during those times...makes it much harder to handle emotions constructively.  Also doesn't help that most of us are from religious upbringings and therefore were never taught how to deal with loss from a secular perspective...I know I'm no expert.

Asmodean

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Re: Dealing with death
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2010, 05:01:46 PM »
Sorry for your loss...

Personally, I don't have any specific coping techniques... Just getting depressed, possibly drunk, then moving on. Most of us lose parents, pets and even friends and children at some point in life. Those are attachemnts not easily broken even when severed by death.

I think the worst you can do is not dealing with it at all. Just plowing on as if everything was still the same... At least, it wouldn't work for me.
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Re: Dealing with death
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2010, 08:03:40 PM »
I'm sorry for your bunny.

Through my own losses I've learned to deal with death my own way. My 'technique' starts from preparing beforehand. I try to live my life with other people so that there would be no words that were left unsaid or questions that were not asked, futile feud or such things. Those things might bother you really nasty ways later. Personally, I don't want to feel any "oh I should have said this or asked that when he was still alive" -moment ever again in my life. I also think ways to cope from loved one's death beforehand. And I mean those who are alive and well at this very moment. Eventually my husband and my children will die, and it's possible that it happens when I'm still alive myself. I think my own death too quite often and try to organize my things such way that it would ease my family's burden, at least in practical things.
When death occurs, I mourn of course. When worst is over, I can  think back the good times and think of the spectacular life cycle. My loved one is "safe" in the cycle of universe, no suffering for them and no worrying for me. Personally I wouldn't want to live forever neither in this life nor spend eternity in any kind of afterlife. Even a thought of eternity in heaven makes me feel sick, I don't get the religious people who seek for eternal life. Of course this doesn't help in every situation. It does matter how one dies, does it happen unexpectedly or not, does the person him/her/(it)self accept oncoming death or not, was the death painless or not. But these are my strategies that have helped me coping with death. Of course losing a pet is a bit different process than losing a person, since you can't talk about these things beforehand with your pet.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2011, 06:45:44 PM by Tank »
"Religion is a symptom of irrational belief and groundless hope." - Dr. House

wildfire_emissary

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Re: Dealing with death
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2010, 06:29:38 AM »
Seabiscuit! I like the name. Like from the novel-turned-film. I feel sorry for your bunny though. Someone told me that in order to forget the sadness caused by a loss, I just need to replace what I lost. Doesn't seem to work though if what I lost is a human being or sui generis. Only the passing of time and the right disposition and acceptance, that death is just but a natural destination of our protein-based bodies, may ease the pain.
"All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." -Voltaire

Re: Dealing with death
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2010, 06:28:12 PM »
Thank you everyone, it's so helpful to hear that there are people out there who think about these things the same way I do. Whitney, I very much envy people who believe in an afterlife. I really wish I did. When I was 10 and my grandpa died, I filled myself with thoughts of him in heaven and didn't mourn at all for his death. A few months later, I started losing my faith in God and mourned for him all over again. His death hit me hard once I stopped believing in heaven. Having gone to Catholic school for most of my life, I really wish that I was taught other coping methods instead of that the dead are waiting for me and watching over me in heaven. One of the pet loss sites that I have been going on frequently since Biscuit's death have lots of people saying that they get visions or signs from their pets. It hurts sometimes when I think that I have never and will never get a sign from him.

Thanks Wildfire, I named him when I was 14 and slightly horse crazy.  :)

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Re: Dealing with death
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2010, 07:55:55 PM »
I lost my best friend of 21 and a half years the day you posted this.  Fatbat, my beloved kitty, died last Saturday morning as I held him and stroked his fur.  I was only 19 years old when I got him and he served as the only real stability in my life for over half of my life.  I'm autistic so making human friends close enough to really love is difficult for me.  His loss has hit me hard.  Through all the losses for over half my life, my method of dealing with them was to cuddle with Fatbat and relax as he touched my face with his toe pads or licked the tears off my cheeks.  I'm not sure what to do now he's gone.

I am trying to focus on the good memories.  Every living creature will die but not every living creature will be loved, and my little Batboy was very, very loved.

Re: Dealing with death
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2010, 04:48:07 PM »
I'm so sorry about your kitty Kylyssa. I'm on the autism spectrum too so I know what you mean. My bun was really one of my only friends during high school, and it felt so good to come home to him after a hard day and just pet him and have him lick my face. I've had friends and family that would come and go and were never really a constant support in my life, but my bunny was always there for me.

Re: Dealing with death
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2010, 12:49:58 PM »
I can only offer what I would do if I lost someone so close to me that their loss left a hole inside me.  I would look for a way, or ways, to honor their memory.  Not just rekindle it, but honor it.  Something altruistic, or ritualistic, or artistic - or all three.  If I lost a pet, it might make sense to me to start volunteering at an animal shelter, or make a little altar with my pet's favorite things and light a candle on the altar every day, or start writing poetry about my pet or my pet's species.  In this way, I'd be interacting concretely with sacred memory, which would make this memory real, and impactful, and enlivening, here in the present.  This is what would make sense to me.  If it helps anyone else, I will be pleased.
Oppose Abraham.

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Re: Dealing with death
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2010, 02:41:02 PM »
Quote from: "Inevitable Droid"
I can only offer what I would do if I lost someone so close to me that their loss left a hole inside me.  I would look for a way, or ways, to honor their memory.  Not just rekindle it, but honor it.  Something altruistic, or ritualistic, or artistic - or all three.  If I lost a pet, it might make sense to me to start volunteering at an animal shelter, or make a little altar with my pet's favorite things and light a candle on the altar every day, or start writing poetry about my pet or my pet's species.  In this way, I'd be interacting concretely with sacred memory, which would make this memory real, and impactful, and enlivening, here in the present.  This is what would make sense to me.  If it helps anyone else, I will be pleased.

How religious of you.