For the non- religious- where do we go when we die?

I titled this post for the non-religious simply because I don't know what I believe. I have always been very analytical and I am trying to wrap my head around death which is so abstract.

Where do we go when we die if it's not a place dictated by religion? I fully support those with strong faith and am so grateful that those people are comforted by their faith. It's just that my mind has always considered a wide variety of options, making it far more difficult to bring my brain any peace.

This is not a post to encourage people to respond trying to convert me to religion so please don't attempt that. I just want to invite others to share their non-religious beliefs about where we go when we die. Do you believe our bodies have energy that can never be destroyed? Do you believe that the essence on someone it around you and can communicate with you?

I'm just so confused. My mother at age 84 died quite suddenly only a month ago. We knew she was sick, but we went for answers and she only spent one night in hospital and died the next day due to having been over-medicated on opioid medication through the night. We know the hospital made a mistake, the doctor admitted it, but we would never be able to deal with the emotional agony of holding them accountable for it. The truth is, we know that if she had lived, she would have had few remaining years and they would have all been full of treatments, hospitals and pain.

I still want something I can hold on to though. Just knowing it probably spared her pain in the long term is not enough. ,I have so many questions for which there are no answers. I want to know if my mom knew she was going to die, why did she use all the energy she had to fling her arm over me as I stood by her bedside when she had no strength, was totally out of it, and couldn't breath, was she mad at me for not understanding she couldn't breath, was she mad that I didn't do something more to help. What was she trying to tell me, or was she not even aware she did that, was it just an involuntary burst of energy!?

After they rolled her our of her room to the ICU I want to know if was she ever in any pain before she died. Did she know they were putting a tube down her throat and into her stomach and a port in her neck? Did she feel it?

I looked at her Face when she flung her arm over me as I stood at her bedside, her eyes had pinpoint pupils and she appeared vacant. I can't understand why I didn't say anything to her. I should have said "mom, can you hear me" , "mom, we are getting help".... but I just ran out of the room and called a nurse. Did my mom know I tried? It had been raining that day and The moment right after we were told she died there was a huge crack of lightening in the sky. Was that her?

I'm sorry, I'm so off topic....I just have so many questions and it defies my logic not to have answers. I wish sometimes I could just turn my brain off and accept there are just no answers sorry for rambling....I'm having a rough day.

My heart goes out to all of you who have lost loved ones.

Views: 471

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Dennis,

Thanks for sharing. My dad says the same thing you just said and that the best we can do for our loved ones is to help them have the most pain-free death possible. No suffering, just go to sleep.

In an earlier post I mentioned my mother was admitted to hospital march 29th and died on the 30th. She indeed had a lymphoma that was rapidly progressing but on the evening of the 29th when we left her there she was talking to us, in the morning she was concious but looked to be a zombie, just staring with pin point pupils and a look on her face which I am at a loss to describe. She looked miserable, confused, I don't know. The doctor admitted the nurse made a mistake and over medicated her with opioids. Dilaudid to be more specific.

So back to your point about going to sleep. Even though the hospital made an error, as angry as that makes me, I do hope it meant that it put her in a state where she didn't know what was going on and simply went to sleep. Certainly when I saw her she looked out of it, slurred speech. Even though, I've now got her medical files and they say NOTHING about this. I jus hope they didn't give her narcan to "bring her around" when they admitted her to ICU as it would have made her concious long enough to recognize she was dying. . The records say that she was responding to commands to move her arms and legs but when I saw her only moments before she went to icu there would have been no way she should have responded like that. Can people who are full of morphine type medications be out of it and still respond to commands ?

Sorry, just thinking out loud....I am sure you are not a doctor...I guess I should ask one this question.

Anyway Dennis, I hope you are right because I always told my mom that dying would be like the best sleep she ever had.


Your loss of your mother is still very new and everyone grieves differently at their own pace. We will never forget them. My own mother was well aware of everything going on up until about 36 hours before she passed away. I was the one that walked into her hospital room where they were keeping her comfortable because once pneumonia sets in that is it. I really never understood when she told me pneumonia is an old persons best friend at their time to go.

My mother was always there for me just like yours. They taught us everything we know to just keep doing the best we can with their advice over our lifetimes. I am still heart broken without her to say the least. I can tell you it has taken over 4 years for me to get used to having to either talk to her out loud because we both talked to ourselves when alone. I enjoy being alone most of the time. I know rambling on again. Dennis is referring to the bible I think trying to help as best he can.

This has been a really hard month. My husband and I were hoping for a calm year at least with the people we know. That is not happening so we are once again feeling lost and in shock from losing our dear friend May 8th and finding out his brother needs a heart transplant ASAP on the way home from our friends memorial of all the worst times.

It is all so very overwhelming. We are staying close to home for this memorial weekend to try and reflect and try to find peace.  By the way I was 49 when my dear mother passed away. I was her youngest. We were best friends.

Hi Jean, I'm so sorry to hear of your additional loss of your dear friend and having to cope with the knowledge of his brothers new challenges. It makes the heart feel pretty heavy. I'm glad to hear that you've taken so time out to find peace. I'm trying to do that too, but it goes in waves. Yesterday I kept myself busy doing gardening and today I'm sick as a dog and have been in bed all day. I have the worst headache and congestion. Probably just the way our bodies force us to avoid auto pilot and slow down.

Sending you comforting thoughts....

Thank you and I hope you feel better soon. You do need to rest.

It is my husbands brother that needs the heart transplant. Hoping for the best since he is in the hands of the VA doctors. They seem to be moving at a very fast pace to get him help. He just had his 51st birthday today. So pretty young for this. I am doing my very best to stay calm and try to keep my husband calm too. Not easy to do.

Be kind to yourself.


I spend a LOT of time in hospitals visiting people who suffer from a variety of deseases and illnesses. I volunteer at a huge hospital that people travel from around the world to. I have experienced being in the room with patients in every sort of condition. I spent time with a lot of patients fully intubated, medically comatose, heavily sedated. I have been told by EVERY specialist I've spoken to that the patients in these conditions feel no pain...but they hear you, and can respond to stimuli. Of course this varies on a case by case basis.

Because of this I speak to every patient I see, no matter what their condition. I have also seen patients very sedated respond by squeezing a finger with their hands. And some do not.

It does sound like your Mom just fell asleep. Responsive to stimuli but unaware of her surroundings, or her condition. If that makes sense.


Dennis, I just wanted to ask you your opinion because you say you spent lots of times visiting people in hospital and say that patients of all conditions can hear us, do you think that my husband could hear me, he suffered a cardiac arrest, but was resuscitated and placed on life support , we were then told he suffered a lack of oxygen to his brain and that they would have to turn off the ventilator,  for thirteen days I sat at his beside talking to him, his eyes were open and he appeared to be looking at me (although the docters told me he wasn't really looking at me) do you think he could hear me talking to him? I would really value your honesty and opinion. X jo 


The brain is an amazing thing. I have known cases where it just felt like there was no way the patient could hear, but when they recovered it was clear that they did hear.

I ALWAYS proceed with the confidence that the patient can hear what I say. As long as the heart is beating they need to know that someone cares.

Your devotion, love, and time spent was NOT in vain. I am sure that he knew you were there.

Thankyou Dennis xx

Thanks for the comforting words Dennis, I sure hope you are right.

Dennis I replied to your post beneath the next post..oops must have hit the wrong reply button, so read below Jeans post.

I'm not a religious person by no means. It doesn't mean that I can't be a spiritual person.

I have spoken to many people regarding their experience of life after death and they cannot explain it. Oh sure the "lack of Oxygen' was one of the many
Explanations. Yet many of
NDE 's recount seeing dead relatives who died before them as well as seeing those relatives and family who died whom they've never met or Relatives who only later after they were resuscitated that they discovered they once lived and never met.

One person I spoke with told me while he was being operated he suffered a heart attack so hrGthe surgeons working on while he was outside and said he had a full 360° .

I could go on and on but I doubt either of us will change Our viewpoint.

I will finish by telling you the surgeon who took care of me while I was in the hospital confided afterward he believes in life after death because as he put it "there's definitely something beyond." And I cannot ignore it.


Latest Activity

Ronnie Luethy commented on Jon-Paul Ackerman's group Lost My Spouse...
"It has been 3 months for me now, and I still say 'we'. Every once in awhile I realize as I say it, and I've tried to say 'I' a few times. But I've starting to realize that it still is 'we' not just…"
1 hour ago
Beth Swansboro and Mary Ann Troxell are now friends
4 hours ago
Jennifer commented on Jon-Paul Ackerman's group Lost My Spouse...
"I have a quick question for you all.  I was talking to a friend the other day and I said "we" she said, "Don't you mean I?"  It made me realize I use we and us a lot still.  I know it has only been a…"
4 hours ago
Jennifer commented on Jon-Paul Ackerman's group Lost My Spouse...
"Thank you, Alice.  I have been feeling more and more and more anger towards just about everyone I know.  I am angry they are happy, angry they have future plans they are looking forward to, angry they want to include me in those plans.…"
4 hours ago
Alice Thompson replied to Maxey's discussion Moved, but nothing changes in the group Lost My Spouse...
"Hi Maxey, I actually do believe my love is still with me, and I have this life with him nobody could understand. I've started bringing this up in conversation with people a couple of times, but soon stopped when I heard the sound of what I was…"
7 hours ago
Maxey left a comment for Jon-Paul Ackerman
"I think John has said everything I am feeling each day. I sometimes think during the day of how many of us are out there suffering through this pain. It has been almost two years for me, so, I guess, after three there is still no relief or hope in…"
8 hours ago
Demetrius and Brenda Ann are now friends
8 hours ago
Maxey added a discussion to the group Lost My Spouse...

Moved, but nothing changes

I moved from the beautiful Northwest to Austin, TX to be closer to my family, but nothing seems to change. My sadness and loneliness seem to follow me wherever I go. I thought maybe a change in scenery would give me a new perspective, but, so far, nothing.It will be two years in October that I lost my husband of 55 years, and I miss him MORE today than ever. I think I am becoming obsessive since I talk to him all the time and fantasize that he is still here. I make believe we are going to take…See More
8 hours ago
Janie m Snitko commented on Karen's group I miss my Mom!
"Good morning everyone and good morning Mama!  I have alot to get accomplished today so that I can bring things home from Mamas home. As always I love you Mama!"
13 hours ago
Profile IconDAWN WALTON, Julie Owen, Lori Szymanski and 26 more joined Online Grief Support - A Social Community
14 hours ago
Suzette Laree Arch added a discussion to the group Being the Other Woman/Other Man

4 months and I can't stop crying

I knew my Best Friend since high school...we were good friends..And stayed in touch over the years - We may have gone 3-4 years before we spoke - But we knew each others situations and we stayed Best Friends - Giving each other advice - I just wanted to make sure he was home to his wife and child - As he served 8 tours in Afghanistan, Iraq and undisclosed locations - We both are parents..We reconnected face to face 2 years ago, both in bad marriages and unhappy...I was about half way through my…See More
16 hours ago
Suzette Laree Arch joined Cathy Richardson's group

Being the Other Woman/Other Man

This is for anyone who has lost their lover to death and you were the other woman/other man in their life. We have to grieve in silence. I can't find any support groups and feel like I'm the only one going through this situationSee More
16 hours ago
Tori commented on Laura Rozier's group Losing Someone to Drug Overdose
"I lost my best friend 6/17/16 to a heroin overdose. I've noticed for me that the happiest times are the hardest. The milestones where you find yourself able to smile and laugh again are usually the most painful. The happier the occasion or the…"
16 hours ago
Tori joined Laura Rozier's group

Losing Someone to Drug Overdose

If you've lost someone you loved due to them overdosing on drugs, let's talk about it here.See More
16 hours ago
Tori posted a photo
16 hours ago
Theresa commented on Karen's group I miss my Mom!
"Janie that sounds good, "I love  you mom"!!!!  "
17 hours ago
Janie m Snitko commented on Karen's group I miss my Mom!
"I hope everybody has a loving good weekend and let's celebrate our Mom's for giving us life. I love you Mama!!"
Linda Engberg replied to Jennifer's discussion They don't understand. in the group Lost My Spouse...
"Jennifer, It has been 4 years since I lost my Husband and soulmate to cancer. My family and friends tell me that time will things better. To tell you the truth the only way I keep my sanity, is adopting a dog and seeing my therapist and…"
KIM Montgomery replied to Jennifer's discussion They don't understand. in the group Lost My Spouse...
"Jennifer, my husband passed May 2, 2017.  We had a wonderful marriage and we loved each other with all of our hearts.  Jack was an awesome person.  I am currently going through this with my own family.  I am away from my family…"
KIM Montgomery commented on Jon-Paul Ackerman's group Lost My Spouse...
"Hello, well I made it through my 1st anniversary without him.  It was a really hard day, Wednesday.  I miss him like crazy and love him so much. Today I just feel numb.  All these stages of grief are exhausting.  Working full…"

© 2017   Created by Diana, Grief Counselor.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service