Give Me Heaven Back

I just found out an old friend died a few days ago. I just can't seem to be okay thinking he is just gone (even though he wouldn't know anything if that is the case). - How does one feel anything is REALLY meaningful if only temporary. (Please appeal to my emotions and not my intellect.) Thanks.
Atheist Answer: 

I usually avoid appeals to emotion because when used as arguments they're a type of logical fallacy; they have no bearing on the facts. If there's a Heaven, for example, my disbelief and incredulity cannot destroy it. If there isn't, though, all the belief and desire in the world won't create it.

That said, I'll do what I can.

If there's no afterlife, the most important thing to remember is that your friend is not suffering. Not only is he no longer in any pain, he does not feel deprived of anything - sight, touch, stimulation, emotion, companionship. It's tempting to think of death without an afterlife as a bleak, desolate place, but it doesn't matter because there's no one there.

The combination of body and mind that literally comprised your friend is gone, and can never be recovered or reconstituted. In a great many other ways, however, your friend is far from gone. He left an enormous legacy which will last until the end of time (if any). People who experience this legacy will regularly think of it as him. They will say he "lives on" through it.

First and most obvious are memories of him, including yours. You won't always remember everything about him, but there are plenty of things you will remember for the rest of your life. His death negates none of this. Memories of him will be written down and become stories, and be passed along even after those who remember him have also died. Even if nobody ever reads the stories, they will always be around somewhere, ready to bring him back once more.

Second is the body of works he wrought in life, the legacy he actually worked to create. If he had children, almost the entirety of his genetic code survives in them, together with a great store of memories and stories. His career has had a permanent effect on the economy and the business world, whether large or small. If he was creative, his art or craftsmanship can be preserved. If you know what he wanted to be remembered for, by emphasising these things you can actually positively influence future concepts of who he was.

Finally there are the effects he had without even meaning to, or knowing: the air that was displaced by his body, the nutrients and water that passed through him, the electronic signals spreading into space from the calls he made on his cell phone...there's an endless list. It may be that nobody ever traces a future occurrence (a breeze, a flower, a burst of static in a far-off space probe) back to the existence of your friend, but you can be certain that the universe has been indelibly marked by his brief presence, and will bear those marks forever. In this way, he not only lives on; he's immortal. Someday we will be too. If fact, we already are.

I'm very sorry for your loss, Celia. Despite all I've said, it is a loss. You'll never again have his company the way you're used to having it. As you mourn him, however, you may rejoice in what remains of him, which extends forever beyond his coffin. Your friend was who he was, and did what he did, and nobody can ever take that away.

- SmartLX


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Thanks and more

Thanks SmartLX. That actually helped. :) Life and death just seem so crazy to me most of the time now (series of life events and hormones) LoL - though true, for sure!

Since I wrote last, my bunny suddenly had a cataract on one of his eyes the other morning. I didn't know it could happen that way. The vet checked him over and said he will be getting one on the other eye too (she could see tears inside his eye, and apparently fluid will seep through and crystalize on his lens). She said it would likely appear suddenly again.

I am having a hard time with that as well ... mostly because I cannot really explain to him what is happening to him. I would think it would freak him out when he one day is totally blind. Plus, he does not have much going on in his little life as it is, I hate that he will not have his site anymore.

It sure used to feel a lot better when I really believed there was a Heaven and some sort of ultimate reason for life. Now the phrase, life's a bitch and then you die seems so literal.

I guess I'm not really looking for anything with this; just venting. But certainly feel free to write again if you think of something.

Thanks again. :)

Not entirely.

Just that life's not entirely a bitch. Sometimes it's a beach. For your bunny, sometimes it's lettuce.

Your bunny knows on some level what's happening. He can see less and less, and then he won't be able to see at all. It will be a shock, but then like any blinded creature he will learn to live with it. His nose will lead him to food, and other bunnies. His great big bunny ears and his natural bunny instincts will keep him out of danger. He'll do his best to adapt, and you'll do everything you can to help him. Friends of mine have had pet dogs go blind, and enjoy their doggy lives immensely regardless.

Just because there's no single "ultimate" reason for everyone's life doesn't mean nobody's life has any meaning at all. If it has meaning to you, that's a start. If it means something to others, that's even better.

There is a bright side to this life if you can find it. Just remember to look.

If you say so : )

I know I could be wrong, but I get the feeling you are young.

I used to be much more positive even when things got crappy ... I'm older and more beat up now. I'm sure it will pass, and I do still have positive things going on as well. But, when you are older the negatives for yourself and those you care about seem to pile up in a hurry. It seems things come in clusters.

Truthfully, I am probably more upset about my bunny's eyes than he is. He probably wishes I would get a life again! Lol.

Thanks for listening. I notice you are always very respectful to people on this site. That says a lot. :)


I'm 28, so I'm young by some standards. To a 14 year old, I'm ancient.

I don't know whether I'll be more or less optimistic when I'm older. I hear time seems to pass more quickly as one ages, so it might only seem as if misfortunes are coming faster than they used to.

Best wishes to you and your bunny.