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Death is a strange and empty thing for us cynical atheists. No bullshit phrases like "She's in a better place now" or "She's still alive as long as we remember her." Even "We have to carry on because that's what she would have wanted" sounds phony. I don't know what she would have wanted, it's just a phrase we, the living, use to make it through the next day, get back up and go back to the unemployment office and hit those job boards so I can get on with my life, as I'm fortunate enough to still have one.
So instead of consoling myself with religious myths all I can really say is "What a fucking drag."
I spent a day in mourning, sulking around the apartment exchanging sorrowful hugs with SW, occasionally getting teary eyed when SW points out we're using Dawn dishwashing detergent or when the film Death Before Dawn is next on the TV. One of the dangers of having a punny name.
What a fucking drag.
But I don't really have time to mope, gotta get up, hit those job boards, and while I'm at it hit Mapblast for directions to the funeral.
What a fucking drag.
Speaking of the funeral, I know how she would have wanted me to dress and act for her funeral. Dawn Marie would have preferred the full-on costume bash with drinks and merriment, but she's not really there to enjoy it, according to my personal belief system.
What a fucking drag.
The funeral isn't for her, it's for the living. She only takes a passive role in the affair while the rest of us show our respects, not to her but to her survivors, by maintaining a proper, socially acceptable demeanor.
What a fucking drag.
Now I look back over her online journal, and read her funny comments on life and read her friends' responses and it's almost like she's still there. But then I'm tempted to respond with comments of my own and I realize she won't read them, she won't respond in kind, her site won't be updated again and eventually it, like her life, will pulled from the server and forgotten.
What a fucking drag.
Sure, I could console myself with the thought that she worked hard to enjoy her life, but frankly her life was no more or less enjoyable than anyone else I know and now it's ended far too soon.
What a motherfucking drag.
About the only thing we cynical atheists can take away from a friend's death is that it should encourage us to live our own lives to the fullest, carpe diem, you know, pep talk. But it sure is a hell of a lot harder to get out there and seize the day when one of your good friends ain't there to seize it with you.
What a goddamn motherfucking drag.
At least the faithful optimists out there can fall back on their beliefs that one day they'll be reunited with loved ones at some fantastic convention in the sky, or elsewhere. Wishful thinking, I believe, but some days being a cynical atheist is, well...
such a fucking drag.

So here's something that might put a melancholy smile on your face, an excerpt from The Simpsons:

Homer is crying at the dining room table, taking bites out of Pinchy's dead body while the family is watching.
Homer: [eating, crying] Oh, man, that's good. [sob] Pass the butter.
Bart: Are you gonna eat that all by yourself?
Homer: Uh-huh. Pinchy would've wanted it this way. My dear, sweet Pinchy. [takes a bite] No more pain where you are now, boy. [rips him in half and sucks out the meat inside] Oh, God, that's tasty! I wish Pinchy were here to enjoy this. [takes more bites] Oh, Pinchy ...

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