The Prayers of an Athiest


The Prayers of an Athiest - notes

This recording was made in my kitchen at 10.32 a.m. on 2nd July, my Mother's time of death; again on July 5th in the Council Cemetery in Stratford-Upon-Avon, by her grave and in a small chapel nearby; and finally, on July 12th, the day of her funeral, again in my kitchen.

The Eden guitar was used throughout and I recorded it with my Neumann and Coles microphones. On location,the DPA and Core Audio mics were used, plus one Neumann KM86 for a distant ambience mic.

In my opinion, this is my most successful recording to date and I am very pleased with all of it.

In my experience, one of the hardest parts of my bereavement was coming to terms with the idea that the rest of the world would be unaffected by my loss. As I walked through Stratford-Upon-Avon after the service, I watched the people in the streets chatting about nothing, on their mobile 'phones, or getting cross that someone had taken their parking space or looking at a pair of shoes in a window and wishing they could afford them. If only they knew, I thought, but then why should they know? Death is upon us every minute of every day and there is no way around it.

I have been an unwilling athiest for many years now, even before I knew what an atheist was. The Spirit of God, any God, has never filled my heart or my soul, nor has it ever popped in for a quick how do, not even when I have undergone trauma, tragedy or appalling loss. As I move ever closer to my own grave, I wonder if I will ever have a genuine religious experience; this idea was unattractive when I was in my twenties, but now that I am in my fifties, I have become fascinated by the possibility of a genuine epiphany.

My father believes that my mother is in heaven and has gone to glory. I believe simply that she is dead and her ashes are buried six feet beneath my feet, as I write this, standing as I am by her little burial mound. My father's faith gave him the strength to come to terms with her death; my lack of faith left me floundering in the low-tide sea of nothingness.

I just hope I die well and I hope I don't die before I get old.