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Religion and Coping with Death

By November 12, 2012

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The past several weeks you may have noticed a drop in the number of articles I have been putting out.  This is because I've been dealing with a long illness that ended with the death of my mother.

Writing on the internet, I come across a lot of jaded people who have come to the conclusion that people on embrace religion because they are scared to leave.  This is particularly an issue when dealing with the questions of death.  I have two responses for that.

First, just because a religion promises an afterlife doesn't mean that's the reason people embrace it.  After all, lots of religions have after-death beliefs.  Clearly a specific religion is going to need more than that to gain a convert in this day and age when people can fairly easily get information about many faiths.

Second, not all religions do offer explanations of death, and not all believers find teachings that do exist comforting.  Wiccans traditionally believe in reincarnation.  I don't find that reassuring in the least,  Even if I do reincarnate, all sense of "Catherine Beyer" will be gone, as is obvious by my lack of memories of previous incarnations.  But I don't even embrace that belief.  Wicca is about life, not death.  We reap the consequences of our actions in this life.  Reincarnation is an explanation of what Wiccans believe happen next.  It doesn't impact our lives in the here and now, so its not a big deal if different Wiccans have different opinions on the matter.

Religion, therefore, offers me no comfort in dealing with the death of my mother.  She's gone, and it's crushing.  And yet I still have faith, and so do many other people.

November 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm
(1) Barbara Buck says:

How lucky we are to love someone so much, that it hurts so bad to say goodbye. I wish you laughter through the tears. It’s a strange world without your “before-yous.” As long as they are around, you don’t have to worry about your own mortality! Once the last “before-you” dies, you are flung into reality, with no net. I have no belief in life after death and therefore found no hope that I would see my folks again. The finality is soul-crushing. But it makes me treasure life more. You will heal. And one day, before you even realize it, you will smile more than cry when a memory of your mom pops up. On that day, you will begin to believe you will heal. I promise.

November 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm
(2) Makarios says:

My condolences on your loss.

November 22, 2012 at 10:58 pm
(3) Joseph D. Smith says:

I’m so sorry sweetie. The main thing that I’ve learned about coping with death is that loved ones who’ve passed on would want us to celebrate their lives and be happy with our own.

November 23, 2012 at 8:56 am
(4) Shawn says:

Hello Catherine,

I read your work years ago on Wicca for the Rest of Us. It was at a time that I’d lost my way, and REALLY needed it.

I came looking for you and found you here.

This writing is also very important to me, and I’m sure others. I’m sorry that it came at such a high cost to you. I’m very sorry for your loss.

Your work in THIS LIFE has made a big difference to many. One need only look to how many links there are to your work, as a place to find good information about Wicca. I thank you for that.

May you find whatever peace you can from your spiritual beliefs, and I hope that your awful ache finds solace, soon.

December 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm
(5) Valencia Hall says:

I am so sorry for your loss. May you always remember and cherish the wonderful memories. Blessings and peace for you.

December 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm
(6) Marty says:

My sincere condolences on the loss of your Mother. At any age it hurts. May you go forward with happy memories.

December 25, 2012 at 6:48 am
(7) James says:

I am sorry for your loss, may you find peace.

December 26, 2012 at 1:17 am
(8) Suzanne Walsh says:

So sorry to hear of your loss, it is always hard to say goodbye; and December is one of the most hardest months to lose a parent. I lost both of mine in December. Dad in 2006 & mum in 2009. Stay strong and remember the good memories; celebrate your mum’s life by making the best of your own.

December 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm
(9) Brenda says:

Catherine, I am so sorry for your loss. Brenda

January 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm
(10) JRedHorse says:

So sorry to hear of the loss of your Mother, please continue to stand strong in your faith, many Blessings upon you and your family.
Jess Red Horse / Northern Blackfeet Nation.

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