I have no memories of my father not being sick. He had juvenile diabetes (born in 1937 before a lot of modern advancements) and it wrecked his kidneys, made him weak and slow, we never played sports or anything together, but I loved him as much as humanly possible. I grew up Catholic and I prayed that he would get better, at least once a week, from about the age of 5 until 18, I said a rosary and would ask God, "Please, make my father better." And then, one day in 1995, I did not have to ask anymore.
My father died about six months into my freshman year of college. It happened over winter break, so I had a lot of time to sit around and feel sad. Over these two weeks, I didn't do anything, just sat around or slept, I didn't say a rosary and I also wasn't eating very much, too sad to eat, I suppose. About two weeks after the funeral, around 11:00 pm, I realized that I was actually hungry. I wanted a cheeseburger.
This was back in the day before fast food places stayed open 24 hours, at least where I lived, so I had few options. I started driving around to places I thought would be open, but they were all closed. I was getting frustrated and even more hungry. 'Come on, God, the least you can do is give me a cheeseburger.' Finally, I found a Village Inn, 'Thank you, God.' went in, ordered the 'All World Double Cheese Burger' to go, paid, and waited. After 20 minutes, the woman behind the counter called me up and said my burger was done. I took the bag and started to walk out the door. "Oh, by the way," the woman said, "We were out of hamburger buns so we just used white bread, I hope that's okay." I stopped, turned around, put the bag back on the counter, then left. I'll admit to being a picky eater and the one thing I cannot stand is not having a bun for a hamburger or hotdog. It was like God was laughing at me, "Yeah, here's your 'burger' sad kid, haw haw!" I was mad, mad at God for taking my Dad and mad about the stupid cheeseburger.
I went home hungry and missing my dad more than ever, so I thought I'd say a rosary for him like I used to. I picked it up, knelt down, but before I started, I thought of how long it takes to say a rosary, about 40 minutes if you don't rush. How many rosaries did I say for my father over the years? Certainly I missed a few weeks, but 12 years of rosaries at an average of let's say one a month is a lot of time. It's four days, actually. 4 days I could have spent talking with my dad after dinner instead of rushing off to pray. Then I started thinking about the times I went to church and sat in silence next to him, not talking, not 'being father and son' and that's even more time. I only had barely 18 years with the man, every minute would have been a treasure if I had known. I cried for a long time thinking about wasted time and hating myself. Then, I put my rosary away and got up, went to the all night grocery store and bought the stuff to make my own hamburger, bun and everything. And in one night I learned that this life is precious because it is all we have, I'm sorry I won't see my dad again, but more sorry that I wasted so much time while he was here on nonsense and I also learned if you REALLY want something, even something as simple as a cheeseburger, you have to make it yourself.
TL;DR: Dad died, I wanted a cheeseburger to cheer myself up, didn't get one, became atheist.
Edit:I just wanted to thank everyone for sharing your stories with me some of which are so painful I wish that I was there to give you a hug. This world can be an unforgiving place, but we are fighting this battle together and that is a very comforting thought. Of all the atheists that could have been, I'm glad I'm here with all of you. One last thing, in honor of all those who didn't think my conversion story was stupid (thank you btw) I had a cheeseburger for dinner made with love by Mrs. Coffeegorilla, it was wonderful. Have a great night!