Flurry O' Fury

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sorry that I haven’t posted in awhile, but we’ve been having a difficult time with the death of my grandmother. It’s a hard time for all. It’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around it. Here’s a person who has always been there for you, since before you can even remember, and then one day she’s gone. It’s like your life loses a wheel and the road gets rougher for it, but you’ve got to keep on going. This is my first, up close experience with death and my first impression is that it’s not very fair. But then life’s not fair either, so I guess it all fits together.

A good chunk of Houston’s Jewish community turned up for the funeral and wake on Sunday. I know that would’ve made my grandmother happy, so I’m thankful for it, but it was awkward for me. These are people I’ve spent years avoiding. I’m not going to say why though, because I don’t feel like bashing people who were kind enough to attend my grandmother’s funeral.

What was most awkward is being an atheist at a time like this. A time like this is religion’s big moment on stage. Religion only exists to explain the unexplainable, and death is at the top of that list. If religion is the opiate of the masses, then death is the time when the dosage goes way up. And it sucks being the only sober person in the room.

So everyone’s praying and chanting and invoking and I’m off standing in a corner, trying not to be noticed. I’m following along in the prayer books, but I don’t want to be disingenuous by actively participating. The result is mostly odd looks, and my father gives me his standard lecture. But I grin and bear it because all of this worship is what my grandmother would’ve wanted to commemorate her passing. And she deserves at least that much.

Religion played a big part in my grandmother’s life, but she never let it consume her. And she never had a problem with my atheism – she never once mentioned it. My parents have harped on me all my life for not being more Jewish, but my grandmother always accepted me for who I am. And when I married outside her faith, she didn’t hesitate to accept Rebecca deep into her heart. For these reasons and more, I was happy to return to Judaism, if only for a few days. I still didn’t wear the hat though.


  • At 9:22 AM, Blogger Lori said…

    Hey! I'm on the agnostic/atheist border, and I wanted to empathize with your feelings about death, funerals, family, etc. I just wanted to let you know that I understand how you felt.

    That's all I have for now.

    I'm sorry about your grandmother's death.


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