After I Am Dead

After I Am Dead April 6, 2017

CulpeperBaptistby Bruce Gerencser cross posted from his blog The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser

Editor’s note: In counterpoint to Michael Pearl’s quote this morning in Quoting Quiverfull and it’s talk of hell here’s Bruce’s take on his vision of eternity. Very rational without the shouty ‘hell’ stuff of the Pearls. Something to be said for thinking and dealing with death in advance. I’ve already instructed my family I want them to have a big party, drink lots of tequila, tell silly stories about me and LAUGH. No ‘hell’ talk. No crying.

As soon as Christian fundamentalists read this headline they will shout at their screen:

  • You will be burning in hell!
  • You will know there is a God!
  • You will know I was right!

They will see my death as vindication of their belief system. I wonder how many of them will say to themselves, I bet Bruce wishes he had listened to me!  I can hear a Calvinist saying, now we know Bruce was not one of the elect! They will speak of the preacher-turned-atheist who now knows the TRUTH (please read Christopher Hitchens is in Hell).

If they bother to read beyond the title of this post they will see this post is not about my e-t-e-r-n-a-l destiny. I have no concern over God, judgment, or hell. I am confident that hell is the creation of those who want to control people through fear. Fear God! Fear Judgment! Fear Hell! Since Christianity and the Bible no longer have any power over me, I no longer fear God or hell. I am reasonably certain that this is the only life I will ever have, and once I die I will be…drum roll please, d-e-a-d.

Here’s what I want to happens after I draw my last breath.

First, I do not want a funeral service. Waste of time, effort, and money. No need for fake friends or distant family members to show up and weep fake tears. No need for flowers. I want Polly to spend as little as possible on disposing of my dead carcass. Trust me, I won’t care.

Second, I want to be cremated. No special urn. A cardboard box will work just fine. If Polly wants to show her love for me, a Hostess cupcake box would be sweet.  As I jokingly told my children, when I am cremated I will go from ass to ashes.

Third, I want my ashes to be spread along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Polly knows the place. I hope my children, daughters-in-law, son-in-law, grandchildren, and close family will be there. I want no prayers said and as few tears as possible. Perhaps those who are gathered will share a funny story, one of their many Butch/Bruce/Dad/Grandpa stories. I hope they will remember me for the good I have done and forgive me for those moments when I was less than I could or should have been.

And that’s it.

Life is not about dying, it’s about living. Since I am on the short side of life, I dare not waste the time I have left. When death comes, the battery in my life clock will be depleted. Like the Big Ben clock beside our bed, the one I listen to late at night as it clicks off the seconds, I know there is coming a day when I will hear CLICK and that will be it.

How about you? As an atheist or non-Christian, what do you want to happen after you die? Have you made funeral plans? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

moreRead more by Bruce Gerencser

Missing Out on Life


Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network member, Bruce Gerencser blogs at The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser He writes from the unique perspective of having been a pastor for many years and having seen it all in churches. His journey out of being a true believer and pastor has been an interesting and informative one.

Bruce Gerencser spent 25 years pastoring Independent Fundamental Baptist, Southern Baptist, and Christian Union churches in Ohio, Michigan, and Texas. Bruce attended Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan. He is a writer and operates The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser blog. Bruce lives in NW Ohio with his wife of 35 years. They have six children, and eleven grandchildren.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • SAO

    Funeral services are for the living, not the dead. You need a place to gather and remember the departed. If it’s a cold, drizzly day, you do not want to do this outside, by the shores of a lake. While it’s tempting to put it off until the weather is nice, a ritual and a gathering (of family, if no one else) is most needed when the loss is freshest. Putting it off might make it harder for the bereaved to cope with life after, which is important, as there will be bills to pay (probably a lot of them), taxes to be filed, etc, etc.

    Like weddings, there’s no need to spend what the industry wants you to spend. You might do the honors in your house. For those who want to be buried, the way to get a plain pine box (which will still cost thousands, just fewer thousands than silk-lined mahogany) is to ask for a Jewish coffin. They’ll have some. Make sure it doesn’t have a star of David.

    If you aren’t having a minister or officiant, you want someone to be the master of ceremonies. This would be better someone like an in-law, who is less grieved than a direct family member. You can find poems, readings on line that are not religious. They can run to the new-agey stuff, but there is a lot of choice.

    The thing is, after the funeral, life can look pretty bleak for the widow/er and be hard on the children. Having family gathered for the first week or two is helpful. Plus there are all those tiresome chores like dealing with personal possessions, you don’t want the widow/er to be bursting into tears when they are getting back to everyday life because there are the deceased sox in the laundry bag. If the deceased is the one to do the bills, there’s so much personal stuff on his/her desk, so just getting back to normal life can be hard and it’s nice to have someone who can just do it for them.

  • Maura Hart

    love it!!!

  • gimpi1

    There are a very few cemeteries that allow for a simple shroud, no embalming and a simple in the earth burial – sort of human-composting. I like that. I also have no trouble with cremation.

    If you believe in survival of some aspect of the human personality, the body is just the discarded empty. If you don’t, it’s still just the discarded empty. (I’m undecided here.) Terry Pratchett described funeral customs as, “… a reverential form of garbage disposal.” That’s how I see it. Do it as cheaply as possible, have a wake, and let it – me – go.

  • zizania

    My husband and son are well aware that I want my remains to be disposed of as quickly and quietly as possible. I’d like a green burial if it’s available in our community at the time; otherwise a very basic cremation would suffice. Actually, my husband just came home with some info he’d printed off the computer about donating your body to research. I’ll have to read it when I have some time. Unfortunately, due to my mucked up immune system and numerous health issues, they probably wouldn’t be able to use any of my organs, but maybe my body would be of some use for research into the aforementioned immune system disorders. As for a funeral, I guess my family and friends can do whatever gives them closure, although, if they try to inject any religion into the process, I’ll find a way to come back and haunt them.

  • Zeldacat

    I mostly agree, but I think some sort of memorial/get-together, religious or not, is important in the aftermath of a death especially if it was unexpected. I remember how hard one of my uncles held my hand at the graveside service for my father (his older brother). I’m glad I was there, just for that, and I wasn’t even grown up yet. Now I’m a bit older than my dad was when he died, and Lord he was so young! It’s a really weird feeling.

    I am pretty much unconcerned with an idea of an afterlife, though I admit if there is one my dad had better be there to see me!

  • Lana

    I agree with spending as little money as possible, but if my parent told me to try not not cry, I don’t think I could.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    …If you have pets, PLEASE figure out a plan for what happens with them if you die before they do. If there’s no one in your life who you can ask (and get their agreement in writing) to take them, there are rescue groups and such that will have no problem taking a pet or pets in – especially if you provide a modest donation for your beloved furries’ care. Do not let it be a situation where relatives drop them off at the pound/animal control to be put down. When their human dies it breaks their hearts, they deserve the comfort of feeling cared for and loved even once you’re gone – they know they’ll see you again on the other side, in whatever form the soul/consciousness takes.

    Oh and don’t do something barbaric like have them killed and buried/cremated with you because that’s just horrible (and has happened from time to time due to some people being AWFUL.)