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To be honest, I have NO idea who Brandi Carlile is (though I suppose I could Google her), but the following brief story of her illness, coma, and recovery are pretty striking.

As my friends from Atheist Nexus will tell you, I used to share Delancey Place stories back on Atheist Nexus here and there when I thought they were significant or interesting.  Per usual, I'll post a couple paragraphs here, with a link at the end for the full article.

Please enjoy.


I remember the first time I worried about my mom. It was also the first memory I have of my constant companion -- debilitating empa­thy (which is a fancy couple of words for guilt). I was still in the hos­pital and nearing my birthday. I had a Cabbage Patch Kid doll called Emmy that I was really attached to. My mom had met some lady in an alleyway and paid cash for her on the toy black market the year these dolls were in high demand. Horrendous-looking little things, but they were a hot commodity in 1984. My incredible nurses understood how tired I'd grown of the IVs and they made me a little IV kit for Emmy. I was ecstatic about this development. All I had to do was un­dergo one procedure for which I had to be put under (probably my last spinal tap), and when I woke up my reward was supposed to be constructing the doll-sized IV.

For all the right reasons, my mother thought she'd surprise me and put the whole thing together so that when I woke up, I could imme­diately play with it. But when I woke up, I was disproportionately furious. There was so little I had control over in there. I just wanted to build something on my own and get a little power back over some­thing that was happening to me against my will. So I acted like a normal five-year-old and threw a fit. My mother of course totally un­derstood, but because I'd become so perceptive, I immediately noticed the exhaustion and defeat on her face. I remembered everything I'd just put her through and was struck down by how guilty I felt. ...

The idea that a child might carry around guilt or a sense of responsibility for us as parents is so unfair ... but I worry about it a lot.

I had flatlined several times and awoken from a coma. There was talk of miracles and mysticism. Jesus was in sharp focus.

Some members of our family were very religious; some just casu­ally, but almost everyone believed in God. Mom's side of the family were technically Catholic. The Carlile family was loosely Baptist­ -- some devout, some of them fragmented and became Evangelical, some even Jehovah's Witnesses. We had one Greek atheist and a few agnostics. The Jonestown Massacre had broken my father's heart. He would soon be baptized Mormon and then become viscerally anti-Mormon. Procter & Gamble were supposedly Satan-worshippers and it was all happening.

I survived. One day, Dad turned the TV dial to the Christian channel and broke the dial off the TV. I couldn't watch ThunderCats anymore. But everyone agreed that God kept me alive because He had a plan for me.

The grossly inflated sense of self-importance was official.

-- from Broken Horses, by Brandi Carlisle

Read the rest here.

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Replies to This Discussion

This is quite an interesting read.

For some reason, I don't seem to recall much of my childhood. I don't think anything dramatic happened in those days. That people seem to remember vividly things that happened when they were five and in such distress is to me, for lack of a better word, quite strange.

Interesting.  At times, I think I recall TOO MUCH of my childhood, and there is a lot of that I'd love to forget, for multiple reasons.  Fact is, I've enjoyed the last 10 years of my life far more than I did the first 10 or 20.

My memory is spotty at best. There are things I remember which even if i wrote down would not be as interesting as this story you shared. Or maybe I am just a bad writer. Though it wasn't a bad childhood or particularly great. It was peaceful though.

Like you Loren I remember quite a lot of my childhood experiences, last week not so much.

Is she the same one who was in the singing group The Bangles?...."Walk Like an Egyptian".....

I remember way too much I'd rather not, & even a memory or two from age 2.

I think that's Belinda Carlisle. 

Oh right, of course......brain freeze......

It is beyond me that anyone can love and worship an imaginary god who threatens to burn us all alive unless we cower in fear before him. People who do, clearly approve of "abusive parenting"! Such a monstrous god who boasts that he created humans in his perfect image and then DROWNED them all—for being "evil"—is clearly a genocidal psychopath, who makes Hitler look like Mary Poppins. How can anyone think that such a butcher actually cares about our welfare and will go out of his way to perform miracles to save us from terrible deaths? Isn't the tragedy of 9/11sufficient evidence that there is no supernatural hero who will swoop down from the sky and rescue us from harm? God didn't even save drowning babies and little children when there was a giant ark in the water.



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