I've had friends, past and present, wrinkle their faces into a sad shape because they are afraid I won't be with them in heaven when my time on earth comes to an end. Smiling and shaking my head is really the only response I can muster when the conversation centers on my lack of belief in the after-life. Other than telling them their pity or angst about the state of my soul is useless, I pretty much let it go. They tell me they will pray for me never-the-less.
When I die, my obituary should clearly erase any doubt in their minds about what I feel will happen to my being at the time of my death. Standard obituaries just don't cut it for me, as they tend to be very droll, very somber and quite frankly, very boring. Rest assured, my obituary will truly reflect how I feel about death, the after-life and my opinion on all the odd rituals surrounding death. I have to admit, I lifted the sentiment expressed by Pat Tillman's brother, Richard, when he appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher. He said, so eloquently, "He's not with God, he's fucking dead". When my time eventually comes (hopefully later than sooner), my obituary will say pretty much the same thing... "I'm just fucking dead, that's all." Really, just fucking dead.
I have come to terms with the inevitability that my life will be coming to an end either some time far, far in the future or tomorrow for all we know and my understanding is that what awaits me is truly just a 'lights out' experience; that is not a scary prospect to me. I think the people who are frightened of death are those who have not yet accepted the reality that as a life begins, so will it end, permanently. Every living thing, without question, will some day cease to exist. Religions help to alleviate that fear with a tale of ever-lasting life, instead of educating or helping people accept their fate when that eventually comes upon them.
If I'm wrong and he finally decided to make an appearance on my death bed, all I would say to god is - if I am to believe I was wrong about what I thought would happen to me when I die, why didn't you decide a long time ago to somehow convince me that my thought process was incorrect? If you really wanted me to be a part of your flock, why did you make it so fucking complicated for someone like me to believe in you or the after-life? People like me who have a very analytical and questioning brain find it excruciatingly difficult to process the whole 'open your heart' philosophy, just have faith and swallow the incredibly unbelievable stuff in the bible, as well as, sifting through all the many different and subjective interpretations fed us during church services to find 'the truth'. Geez! Not feeling the love here.
So, in the meantime, until my brain gets what my brain is craving for, I will continue to say death for me means I'll just be fucking dead.