Redditor amiwrongtowonder posed the question, “Am I a bad atheist because I talk to my dead friend at his grave?”
Short answer, no.
A few days ago I had to put down one of my ferrets. She had been a part of our family for 5 years. She fell ill weeks earlier and refused to eat and drink. We made the decision at 2am and couldn’t even call a vet until 8am to set up an appointment.
In the weeks prior I knew this was where it was going. I cried. I pleaded with her to eat and to drink and be a good little girl and take her medicine even though it was icky and she hated it. I apologized to her for not being a better dad and taking better care of her.
On the 1/2 hour car trip to the vet I held her close and comforted her. I talked to her about silly things.
I held her as she passed. I apologized to her again for not being able to figure out what was wrong. I told her I wished she could’ve told me what was wrong so I could’ve made it better. I told her she was going to see her brother soon (another elder ferret we lost 3 months earlier) and wished her well.
At home I still cried and begged forgiveness for not doing a better job at making her well.
All of that, for pound and a half ferret that slept most of every day.
At some point in the process my wife tried to appeal to my rational side. She told me this was the right thing to do. And I replied, “That doesn’t make it hurt any less. Fuck, this is not rational! This is emotional!”
As a species we are emotional. We fight tooth and nail to maintain some semblance of rational behavior. A good portion of us don’t succeed. Of those of us who do we don’t succeed 100% of the time. No one does. Ever.
When it came to losing a loved pet I failed to be rational. But that is not a failing on my part. That is being human. My grief no doubt pales in comparison to yours in the loss of your friend. Don’t think for one heartbeat that being emotional, and irrational, in times of grief is a failing. It’s being human. Especially since you recognize it as such. And fuck all to anyone who would have you feel otherwise.