Friday, October 24, 2014

Just Pray

Okay. So I'm probably going to alienate some people or piss some people off with this post today, but you know what? The reason I'm writing it in the first place is because I feel alienated every single day, by the very same people who will be angry or upset by this post. Besides, my intention is not to upset anyone. My intention is, as always, to tell the truth. And sometimes the truth pisses people off.

So here we go. It's been 3 years and 3 months since my husband's sudden death. In that time, there have, of course, been many comments and sentiments said to me by others, that have been hurtful or ignorant or unhelpful. However, in my experience, and I am only speaking for myself here, it is the comments and thoughts made by very religious people that have been the most hurtful and sometimes downright rude. And after 3 plus years of nodding my head or smiling or not saying anything back to them, I am fed up.

Let me be clear. I have many religious friends, and people in my life who have a strong faith. There are many friends and family and other widowed people who, although they are religious, realize that I am not, and therefore, they don't ever push their views on me or make comments which they know would only be hurtful to me. I highly appreciate these people, because they have respect for me, and I have respect for them. There are many people of faith out in the world that are also beautifully and wonderfully open-minded and nonjudgmental. But this post isn't about those people. This post is about all the others, who, unfortunately, outweigh the "good" religious types by a pretty big margin.

Like many widowed people, I run into and deal with thoughtless comments about my loss on a regular basis. Sometimes it is in person, other times it is on the internet. The comments in person are mainly from non-widowed people, and the ones online are from widowed and non-widowed alike. Since I belong to quite a few closed/private groups for widowed people on Facebook, there are a lot of opinions flying at me. None of the groups I am part of advertise themselves as being religion-based groups, yet it seems that lately, the nutty religious types are overwhelming the rest of us. If I post about an issue or emotion I'm having, or just a rough day, often I will get replies such as just pray, Trust in the Lord, everything happens for a reason, God wont give you more than you can handle, we have no control over what happens to us - leave that to God, etc, etc , etc ..... Now, depending on how many of these comments I get, often times I simply ignore them and don't respond to it. However, when it's being pushed on you by multiple people, it can get annoying and feel like an attack. If I respond by simply telling them I am not religious, therefore those comments aren't really helpful, then I am bombarded and judged, with replies like: "I can't see even getting through this without God in your life", or "perhaps you need to be Saved." Nope. Don't need to be saved, and I'm doing just fine without religion, thank you very much. What I need is to not be judged for my beliefs, and to not be made to feel like I am somehow "less than" you because you are a person of Faith.

If it matters, I will share what I do believe. Yes, I believe in God. Sort of. To me, the term God is more of a concept or an idea. I believe that God is whatever you think it is. A higher power of some kind, yes, but that could mean many things. It could be nature, or a force of some kind. I believe in some form of that, and I truly believe that people should believe or not believe in whatever it is that helps them or comforts them in some way. I do not follow any religion, nor read any Bible, nor do I believe in "God's Plan" or "Heaven and Hell" or "Satan" or any of that stuff. I generally think that things happen randomly, and that sometimes life is beautiful, and sometimes life sucks. People live and people die. My husband had a sudden heart-attack at age 46 with zero warning or symptoms, because he had a crappy father that didn't bother to tell him his medical history, and so he was walking around earth as a time-bomb and didn't know it. He did NOT die as part of some ridiculous PLAN that God has, and everytime someone tries to push that idea down my throat as if they know that for a fact, it is not only hurtful, it is offensive.



I don't know what happens when we die, and I don't pretend to know. I do know that science says energy cannot be destroyed, and that humans are made up of energy. Everything is. So, when we die and our souls leave our physical bodies, I assume and I hope and I think, that our energy and our cells and our being, is alive out there somewhere in the universe. Is it a star, a plant, a cloud, part of the earth, a sunrise? I don't know. And because I don't know, I try to focus on what I do know - the here and now. Life. Being a good person who gives to others. Leaving behind a legacy that I did something important, and that I was loved and gave love. Not so I might get into some Heavenly place, but because it feels good. I take credit for all of my own accomplishments, and my mistakes. I do not give that credit to God. I am the one who has gotten myself through this Hell for 3 plus years. I am the one who decides to wake up each day and give it another shot. I am the one who hasn't given up. I did that. I'm doing that. Me.

At my husband's funeral, someone that I barely know (a co-worker of Don's I think) came up to me and said: "Now you can feel better because your husband was called Home to Jesus." I wanted to explode with fury and fire, but I was in too much of a fog, and too exhausted and in shock to respond. But inside, I was crying. My heart was crying. Now I can feel better? Better? My husband just f**king died, and he wasn't sick, and he wasn't in pain of any kind, and we were HAPPY, and we just started our lives together, and now he is just gone forever. He is with Jesus? He is home? Home? No. Our home is home. Our life here was home. A couple weeks later, at a family gathering, a friend of my family gave me the "God's plan" speech out of nowhere, and I replied with a shaky (because I was about to cry): "Actually, I don't believe in that concept, but thank you anyway." She got really upset with me, and said very seriously and sternly: "Well, you'd better start believing and you'd better start reading your Bible, or you will go to Hell and you will never see your husband ever again." Wow. Thank you for threatening me. That is so helpful and kind of you. I could sit here and list all the many horrible religious-themed comments I have received over hte past 3 years, but then this post would go on forever, and it's already too long. I run a closed group on Facebook called: "Non-religious Widows and Widowers Club", and I have also facilitated the Round Table for Non-Religious, Atheist, and Agnostics at Camp Widow, 2 times now. The stories of cruel and mean comments coming from some religious people that are thoughtlessly lobbed at us, continues to astound me. Someone joked in our last meeting at Camp Widow that she tried "praying the religious meanies away, but it didn't work. They're still here."

As most of you know, I am in the midst of writing a book about the loss of my husband, and our love story. recently, it was suggested to me by a widow friend, with the best of intentions, that perhaps I should consider "toning down my views on religion while promoting the book." I understood what she was saying, and I understood why. But I cannot do that. It goes against everything that I am, and everything that makes my book different. The phrase "brutally awful truth" is in the title of my book, and I intend to tell the truth, always. If you don't want to hear it, just pray. Maybe I will disappear. If not, then please don't worry about it. I take no responsibility for this post. It was all part of God's Plan.


32 comments:

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    1. LOL I laughed out loud when I saw it the first time too. I think it makes it even funnier that it's Don Draper from MAD MEN saying it. I dont know why, but that makes it more hilarious to me.

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  2. Preach! So refreshing. I agree 100%. So arrogant when someone tries to force religious concepts on you. It's like they need to fix you twice: once for being sad about your husband, and twice for not being delighted by God's so-called plan. Way to express the love of Jesus - by basically telling you that you are an idiot and a sinner for not having the same religious beliefs as them.

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  3. I hear ya. But it is the truth as you see it. Not everyone has the same "truth" and I think that is what your point is. Everyone has their "brutally awful truth" and you are telling your version of it, and you don't want other people's version of their truth (that you don't agree with) shoved down your throat!

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  4. We all have "free will"...However Christ's sufficiency is more apparent during times of grief & suffering than in the midst of blessing. Opening up to discover God's faithful provision strengthens our resolve to endure and helps find the great purpose that is set for our life. Just sharing this word... not forcing it... :-)

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    1. FFS, did you even read what she wrote?

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    2. LOL ...and here we go ........

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  5. I am not a widow. I read here because of losing my Dad & it has opened my eyes to what my Mom has had to deal with in losing the love of her life.

    With that being said, this is my most favorite post ever! I think your bravery & honesty is beyond refreshing.

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    1. THANK YOU!!! I think its so awesome that you read here to get more insight into your mom's heart and to better help her. What a great daughter you are, and Im so very sorry about the loss of your dad.

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  6. I lost my husband 3 months ago, he was 46..sudden heart attack, also.
    I am a believer. Have a strong faith in God. I believe God has a plan for my life. BUT I don't for one second think God's plan was to take my husband. I don't for one second believe God doesn't give me more than I can handle..He does!
    I see it as, Now what am I going to do?..How am I going to handle this?
    Anyway, I am sorry people can't just be loving, be kind, be considerate.
    Belief or not, this sucks, this blows, this is so painful!
    I wrote on my blog about peoples words...I know! I'm sorry. Hugs too you!

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    1. Thank you Susan! And Im so sorry about your husband too. I always feel a bit of a special bond with the ones who lost their loves in the same way I lost mine, ya know? Hugs to you <3

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  7. I hate the comment "he/she is in a better place". Makes me want to scream NOOO, the better place is here with me!

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  8. I used to believe that things happened for a reason (not necessarily for religious reasons) but I stopped believing that when my husband died suddenly of a heart attack. There is no absolutely no reason why he should have been taken from me and my 13 year old son. Thank you for your post today. There are a lot of very insensitive people out there.

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  9. Awesome blog today! My husband was a Mormon, so when he went into the Army in the 60's, that was not considered a religion, so they wanted to put "Christian" on his paperwork and he refused. Years later, finally, Mormonism is an option ... as a result, my husband was vocally anti-Christian, just because. Anytime there was a big billboard for something "Christian" ... he would start joking about looking for the "anti-Christian" version of that something. I didn't realize how much "Christian" -labeled stuff is out there ... and sometimes when we were out and about and he said something out loud in a group, he got dirty looks. I always laughed and explained that he wasn't rooting for the specific "anti-Christ" that Christians worry about ... it was just the "Christian" label in general. Just wanted to share that others also feel the oppression of the constant labeling and comments and I'm sorry that's happened to you and thanks for writing this and explaining. It probably won't change the hard core cases, but the rest of us can print it out and say "here, read this and shut up already!" Rene

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    1. How awful that your husband went through that, and thanks for sharing it with me. We should all just be able to believe whatever we believe and whatever helps us, and that should be the end of it. Unfortunately, it doesnt usually work that way.

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  10. I'm somewhere in the middle/left of all that - but I, too, have been more offended by religious comments than the non-religious ones - even before widowhood (it'll be 6 years for me next month). I also wrote something VERY similar in a recent post ("Defining 'Widowhood'") on my blog... And I'm in the SAME precarious position as far as feeling stifled about expressing my personal views about certain things in my writing, and keep reminding myself that I swore I wouldn't edit myself. When I do that, I'm blocked from writing effectively.
    Write from your heart, honey - when you do that, you can't go wrong. You can't please everybody no matter what you say, anyway! ;) <3

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  11. I love you!!!! This is perfect.
    XxAmanda

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  12. Thank you for this Kelley Lynn. You have said what I have wanted to say to so many people. Yes if you come into WV chat and start talking religion and trying to shove it down peoples throats, I am going to get highly pissed and say something. We all believe differently and I wish people could understand that. Hugs for being brutally honest.

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  13. The sudden death of my boyfriend this summer has rocked any faith I might have had. I had been going to church but losing Scott, especially two weeks before our son was born, has left me jaded about it all again. I really sympathise with the sentiment about annoying whimsical platitudes. Frankly I have had enough of hearing about mysterious ways and divine purposes :-(

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  14. dear Kelley,

    this is not your first time at this rodeo - but it is the BEST, most perfect body of work on this subject! I loved what you wrote about possibly alienating people, but that you feel alienated every day with the god, plan, better place and all versions of those themes being foisted upon you. it flabbergasts me that even when you have expressed your respect for what anyone else believes, that respect has not been shown for your feelings. it should make those who insist on spouting their religious beliefs feel ashamed, but I've a feeling that the righteousness they feel on the one-line track mind of religion and the notions that are constantly hurled leaves little room for compassion and empathy. just know that all the support you are receiving, the love, understanding and true desire to offer validation will always be here for you. OUTSTANDING POST - I LOVE IT!!!

    much love,

    karen

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  15. Perfection for non-believers...what fellowship has light with darkness...

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  16. I totally get this. Great post! You said exactly what I feel.
    Linda

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  17. That sounds terrible. I'm sorry. I can't stand when religion divides people, one thing we all have in common is our humanity, and those comments just plain hurt. I can only hope that this might be helpful to those who are well-meaning, but possibly not aware of the impact of what they say.

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  18. Oh Kelly, you rock! I am almost 3 years out, and I've been very lucky about the god stuff. I was an outspoken atheist long before my husbands death, and no one dared attack me with their god bother when he died. And I was in the deep south. ;) I'm pretty tolerant, but everyone knew pushing religion on me at that time would have sent me right past kindness and into rage. Keep speaking your truth, because when we do that, we give courage to others who didn't know they could speak.
    Puck

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  19. I would love a link to the non-religious widow Facebook group. I lost my husband 1.5 years ago and as I live in the south I'm drowning in the prayers and religious comments!

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  20. Im not sure how to link it here. I suck at technology, but its a private closed group, and you go onto Facebook and type into the search bar "Non Religious Widows / Widowers Club" it should come up. Then just request to join. If you cant find it, let me know. PM me on FB and I can link it there. Just no clue how to link it here. Im Kelley Lynn on FB.

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  21. Wow, Kelley! Your timing is frequently and eerily aligned with exactly what is on my mind on Fridays! So last Friday I knew that I was getting together with a bunch of my in-laws. They almost never talk to me about Ron and really don't talk to me about grieving. One of them, was open to talking about it and suggested that we may talk about it over dinner. I was happy about that but worried that the oldest brother would start spouting some god's plan and god needed Ron more than we did bullshit and was trying to figure out at plan if that happened? Rip them a new one or tell them how that just didn't work for me. Well, in the end no one would talk about anything at all.....sigh. I am grateful they care about me and want to keep me in their lives. I want to keep them. I wish I could share my grief. Anyway, that was an awesome post. HUGS! Carrie

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  22. I am so sorry that you have received so many hurtful, unhelpful comments. AS a person of faith I make every effort to show respect to those who do not choose to follow a religious path. I'm so sorry for those who have not shown you that respect and have inflicted more pain by their thoughtless, selfish comments. I wish you the best as you journey through your grief. For me it has been 4 of the most difficult and painful years I have lived. I am thankful for all who have stood by me and supported me.

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  23. Kelley - I believed in God. I believed in Heaven. I believed my husband is there waiting for me. And I completely agree with EVERYTHING you wrote. The "he is in a better place" crap, "he is home with Jesus". Three years, and one day shy of two months, and I still question "God's plan". I am 45 years old. I met my husband in 2000, we got married in 2006, he was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and I lost him in 2010 (3 days after our 4th wedding anniversary). You are right, God didn't get me through this. I did. I have struggled financially and emotionally the whole time. I have fought to make ends meet with a teenage daughter, working two full-time jobs, pushing to get up every day. What God wants this kind of life for anyone? I don't go to church anymore. I purposefully change topics when my family talk about God, religion, etc.

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