There is no god, proof is never far away

I know there is no god. Not a Christian or one of any other denomination. There is nothing. How do I know this? Well, I need to tell you a short story and hopefully, when it is finished, you too will know that there is no god. Take note also, I use the term god in the lower case. The word is not worthy of being a noun. It is just another meaningless word.

This story starts 40 years ago when I got to know a woman, her name is Maureen, through several different channels. Firstly, she worked at the same location as my mother, I was at school with one of her daughters and one of her younger daughters would ultimately become my wife. Maureen, her husband, and her parents were typical working-class people from the midlands in the United Kingdom. Having originally arrived in Melbourne, the entire family moved across the continent to Perth in the late 1960s. To put this in perspective, this was in one car on many thousands of kilometres on unsealed roads. Four adults, four daughters and a young aunt taking a two-week road trip to relocate to Perth, staggering by today’s standards.

Once settled in Perth, jobs were obtained in blue-collar roles and the extended family remained very close to each other, not only concerning location but also in their daily lives. Maureen and her husband eventually built a modest home and settled down as they raised their four daughters and young son. If you want to look up the term house proud, there should be a picture of Maureen as the definition. She would work tirelessly to keep the house pristine and neat as well as having a full-time job doing that was quite physical. Her husband loved his cars and garden, Maureen loved her home and her family. When dating a daughter, you always were involved in their family gatherings as the level of solidarity between the family was epic.

Things changed in 1986 though with the passing of Maureen’s mother through illness. Her father, a stoic Irishman, was old school and believed in the man of the house having a well-defined role and the wife there to cook, clean and wash. This may seem somewhat archaic in today’s world, but it was perfectly normal for the generation born before the Second World War. Maureen stepped into the void left by her mother and due to the proximity of her father’s house, would cook for him on a nightly basis. And so, it went on for many years. Her children got older, got married and moved away. But Maureen’s house was always a hub of activity as the extended family now included grandchildren.

Now, I must point out, Maureen’s relationship with god. It is fair to say that she and her husband were not regular churchgoers or overt in their beliefs. However, she did believe in god and enjoyed the pageantry of the church. I recall having conversations with her about god and religion and she was honest about her faith. It was just her personal belief, and she was happy with it.

Then along comes the second blow. In the mid-1990s, Maureen and her husband were selling some unwanted items at a swap meet held at a local shopping centre carpark on a Sunday morning. Suddenly, her husband had a massive heart attack and passed away at the swap meet. This was the man that had been by her side for decades. Not having a large circle of friends, she had now lost the one person that she spent the majority of her time with. She was devastated. The family wrapped their arms around her and sorted out the details of the funeral as Maureen moved through the day as in a fog.

A decade passed and I had become divorced from her daughter and met and married a new partner. I had three children that Maureen was the grandmother of, so there was a loose connection back to her and the kids would update me on how she was, or I would see her from time to time. In this period, her father passed away and, with no kids at home, she downsized and moved into a retirement village. Still getting plenty of visits from family and being included in family events, the close-knit group would always include her.

It was at this time that I heard stories from my kids that Gran keeps getting confused about having a cat and a few other tales. I didn’t think much about it until I ran into Maureen, her daughter and son in law at a local shop. This wasn’t the woman remembered. She would be looking off in the distance and laughing at nothing in particular. Concerned, I asked my ex-wife if her mother was ok. It was then that I discovered she had early dementia. Maureen was born the same year as my father. I used his cognitive and physical abilities as a benchmark, he was and still is extremely active. So, to hear of Maureen’s plight, it was distressing to think of the difference between the two, seeing my father thrive and Maureen deteriorating.

I would get updates from my kids on how Maureen was doing, and the news was always bleak. Dementia doesn’t undo itself. The trajectory is a downward one. At the time of writing this, Maureen’s medication has been stopped and she is now on morphine. This is depressing yet somewhat inevitable news. Having not spent a lot of time with her like her family, all I think of is how sad this is. I can’t speak for the family about whether a sense of impending relief and sadness exists though.

So how do I know there is no god? This is simple. Maureen did not deserve this. She was a person that looked out for anyone even though she had limited means. She raised a family, worked hard, cared for her parents, and turned a house into a home. What we take for granted in today’s world, travel, eating out and socialising, Maureen would forego to make sure her family were ok. She believed in a god yet at no stage in her life did she catch a break or get a sign that some higher being was pleased with her life’s work. On the contrary, she never questioned this and simply got up in the morning and did what needed doing. We hear all the time that suffering is part of gads plan. No, I won’t accept this. Good people should be looked after when they do not have the necessary means to make their own lives better. A mythical entity cannot do this. We can.

Maureen passed away on the 7th of November. Although she endured debilitating dementia that reduced the quality of her final years, she can finally rest knowing that she gave birth to and raised a family of quality humans. Life isn’t fair and it is hard. But those hoping for an eternity of pleasure in some afterlife need to think about what that means. We are all a little better for knowing Maureen and having had her influence part of our lives. This is what is important, the here and now.

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warren coppard

warren coppard

Interested in history, culture, business and the pursuit of knowledge

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