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Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Death of the Atheist

The second man lived and died here
Continued from yesterday's post: God and the Deaths of Three Men - One Protestant, One Atheist, One Catholic


The second man to die was the atheist. How does an atheist die? Well, let me tell you. But it’s not a pretty sight, nor is the story of this man’s life one that is pleasant to tell. Cruel, arrogant, mean, unkind and egotistical are words that come to mind when I think of this man who was born on St Patrick’s Day long ago. He was married to my college roommate who was, and still is, a Godly Baptist innocent mathematical genius.

They were madly in love when we were in school. She dropped out of her Master’s (Math) program to marry him, then he was drafted into the Army and they moved to Oxnard, CA where they had a baby boy. He then went off to Vietnam for two years, had an affair and probably a child with an Asian girl, returned home (did he ever wonder about that child and his or her mother?) and went back to North Carolina where he told his wife he no longer loved her and divorced her. She was absolutely devastated that he had cheated on her and no longer loved her.

One of his problems with his wife, my beloved friend, was that she “always talked about money.” It was his jealousy speaking because, at the beginning of his architectural career, she could hands down make more money than he could at the drop of a hat since her mind revolved around numbers. Some people think in concepts; she thinks in numbers. (Today, after teaching math for 20 years, she is an accountant and owns 12 rental houses, can tile floors, put in a bathtub and boss workers around with the best of them, all in her gentle innocent lovely manner. If she has to evict anyone she always tells them how sorry she is but that she will pray for them to get their life straightened out.)

His mind lived here
Their son grew up, married and had two children who saw their grandfather twice. As this man grew older, he had various affairs, but never married again. He wasn't a completely bad person. During his life he did do things he thought were appropriate and he could be kind to another person in his own way. However after retirement he sat on the couch watching TV, smoking and drinking beer and liquor thereby growing an enormous stomach, bloated out of all proportion to his tall thin body. He did not want to see anyone but his son. Not his son’s wife, not his grandchildren, not his sister, certainly not his ex-wife. No one. He became a recluse. A sick, coughing, drunk lonely old recluse with a bloated stomach – ascites – because of cirrhosis of the liver, and finally in the end getting cancer from smoking.

He never realized that his wife had been his greatest blessing. She was an angel from God, a gift to him, who loved him and gave him his son, who in turn gave him the grandchildren he rejected just as he had rejected his wife. 
He had accepted his son since the son was his spitting image, sort of another self. But as he had rejected God and His love, he rejected his wife and her love and everyone else in his life. In his entire life there was never anyone who loved him as much as my roommate did, and he threw her and her love away like dust in the wind. 

And do you know what she did? All through the years, even though happily remarried, she had been praying for him to convert to God instead of being an atheist. She hadn’t seen him in decades since he wanted no contact with anyone, but she prayed for him every day. When their son told her that he was dying she called me and one other college friend since we had known him from our youth, and asked us to please pray that somehow before he died he would come to believe in God. She was distraught that he might go to Hell – the real Hell other than the one he had already created for himself in his earthly life.

I promised that I would pray that he would convert before he died. After a few weeks, she called to say that he had passed away in pain and agony until morphine was given to him the last few days. I’m not sure if his son was with him at the moment of death. I explained to my friend about Purgatory since her understanding of death is that when a person dies they immediately go either to Heaven or Hell. I told her that possibly after her ex-husband had been given morphine he could then have concentrated less on his pain and more on the reality of what was happening to him. That since at one point when he was in Vietnam under fire he suddenly had had the thought that God might exist after all, therefore maybe during his dying he had had another lucid moment that God existed and perhaps that would be enough for him to squeak into Purgatory, which meant that he would eventually get to Heaven. She was so happy to hear that and later called to say she had explained it to her son.

          Henri Pranzini                       St Therese of Lisieux
I also told her about St Therese of Lisieux’s first spiritual child, the prisoner and triple murderer Henri Pranzini, whom, just as my roommate worried about her ex-husband, St Therese feared would die impenitent. St Therese wanted at all costs to keep Pranzini from falling into Hell and offered to God all the infinite merits of Our Lord. After Henri’s execution in 1887, Therese learned of his last moments. “He turned, took hold of the crucifix the priest was holding out to him, and kissed the sacred wounds three times.”

He then met the guillotine and “his soul went to receive the merciful sentence of Him who declares that in heaven there will be more joy over one sinner who does penance than over ninety-nine who have no need of repentance.” Pranzini would make it to Purgatory, thus eventually into Heaven. 

I explained to my roommate that likewise, because of her love, concern for his soul, and her years of prayers, God would certainly give her ex-husband all the graces he needed to get to Purgatory just like He had done for Pranzini since He loved her ex-husband even more than she had. She was her ex-husband’s St Therese.

Acceptance or rejection? No one knows this man’s final thoughts but we can still pray for him. He died alone in the hospital (hopefully the son was there) and was cremated and his ashes are in a jar in their son’s house. At some point in time he plans to cast them into the ocean somewhere. There was no funeral, but rather two weeks later a 
reception of some sort that the son held. There were 18 - 20 people present, all of them former colleagues from his architectural firm who more than likely felt obliged to go. No friends, for he had none. No family, because he had rejected them all except his son, his other self. No tributes at all were written on his online obituary page.

Tomorrow's post is the death of the Catholic.

1 comment:

M. Prodigal said...

Narcissists. I have known of two very bad ones. One had an affair and divorced by best friend. But all the while they were married she, a giving and loving great friend and Christian, and he, --a fallen away Catholic--I had to admire how she put up with that self centered man. But he cheated on her more than once, and she forgave him more than once and finally one day she came home to a note written in crayon that she should "get on with her life" because he was not happy and had found someone else. What a creep! She called me and I came over and had her change her locks immediately. Then when their son married and requested the dad not bring his mistress to the wedding, he did so anyway. The man had rejected faith while a very young man.

Second was the man my sister, again a most loving and giving person, married. We were at her wedding wishing she would not marry him. We saw many red flags. So while she was pregnant with her third son, he was having an affair and then left her when the baby was 6 months old. All that time he was saying she was paranoid and crazy for her suspicions. He married and divorced again and had other women. My sister lived almost in poverty but she raised those boys and two of them have wonderful families now. The dad died last year amidst all his many toys and possessions that were more important than his family.

I think a man who abandons wife and children is lower than pond scum. To think you can build happiness while destroying a family and scarring the children forever is only a lustful blindness to the truth. I have seen this happen too many times and seen too many tears of the abandoned ones.