I haven’t been close to my family since I became irreligious, it wasn’t really a problem for me because I had really good amazing friends who weren’t judgmental.
And that I’ve been a pariah to my mom’s side since I was a kid coz of the mix blood.
The only time this became a problem was when my dad died.
My relationship with my dad wasn’t the “best” in terms of father and son relationships due to the account when my parents divorced my mother did everything she could to severe my relationship with my dad.
So over the years, him and I have been working on getting closer, and hes been supportive of everything I’ve done and helped me out when I needed help the most in the Army when I was confined in a mental ward during NS for my breakdown.
Then it happened, he passed away.
Everything we worked for is gone, I won’t ever know he feels about me knowing that I turned my back on Islam, I’ll never get this closure. Knowing what I’ve lost and knowing what I’ll never know really ate up at me. I just held his hand so tight from the hospital to the ride back to my grandma’s and just cried really hard, his sisters noticed how distraught I was and kept telling me “Hes in a better place inshallah” I know they mean well but thats not the words I needed, inside I was screaming “Why dont you tell him what he meant to you and share life experiences you had with him”
Then when they wanted to wash his body, one of my cousins asked me to come wash him, I declined and he gave me the stink eye. Egged me on and I just told him, I don’t want to remember my father like that, his memories are all I have left and I can do without this one. Of course he didn’t understand, and just moved on.
So then came the burial at around 5pm, He passed away around 6am, I havent eaten the whole day or had a drink the weather was really hot, they put him the ground, he was too tall for the “casket” and it didn’t cover him all the way because he was too tall, I wanted to speak out about it but i was getting dizzy, as they started burying him, people tossing the flowers at this point seeing him all the way through from the hospital into the soil, I was done, I almost fainted from the heat stroke, like my vision went all blurry and the gave site looked so beautiful when my vision blurred so colourful because of all the flowers.
So my aunt (the only one who has thus far expressed her acceptance of my atheism) took me back to the bus and made sure I was okay.
Close to two years I was barely functioning, became really antisocial, my mother was pretty much useless in this ordeal, like my sister because both of them hated my dad but even my sister regrets now not letting her children play with him more often, I couldnt talk to anyone in the family, everyone kept saying they had dreams of him, kept telling me hes definitely in a better place while inside I’m screaming what the hell is wrong with all you people.
Close to the 2 year anniversary of his death, I hitched a ride with my uncle, his brother in law an american guy who married his older sister that I knew was just faking being muslim from all the time he excused himself during the prayers, during Hari Raya celebrations, so I knew he was going to be okay with me coming out.
His death was super hard for me to deal with because I had no one to talk to, I literally went into a state of chronic depression for almost 2 years because I couldn’t say anything to the people who knew him, to my family, infact a letter I wrote down and shared, “Note to my Dad” I had a paragraph omitted because its the atheist part, because I before he passed away, I was contemplating on telling him that I am Atheist, but I was scared because I didn’t want what we had worked on repairing to disappear just because of this and I made it public so my family could read some try to understand how I felt and at the time I was still in the atheist closet.
I told him I needed to talk to him about my father, because I wasn’t coping at all with his passing and I’m losing my mind. So we talked it out for a good hour or so, he shared with me stories about him and my dad, he told me that while he would have been disappointed at my choice to leave Islam, he still knows that I’m good person and he’d be proud of my accomplishments and loved me all the same, and reassured me no matter what I’d still be his son.
So after close to 2 years, I finally had some sort of closure.
My advice is, if you feel like you have a really good relationship with your parents or anyone in the family who’s unconditional love matters to you, let them know before they’re gone so you can have the closure you deserve.