When my mother was dying she began to wonder about religion. My Mom had a great way of putting things. Once, when we went to Walmart for picture hangers, she told me I was too competent and that was why there was no man in my life. I found this hysterical but also probably accurate.
From time to time I have pretended to be somewhat helpless with men out of loyalty to her. I think it worked once because the guy I was with was much nicer but then he kept talking about all these things I already knew so it just annoyed me in the long run.
I really can’t be anything else other than what I am these days but I, too, am wondering about religion. I keep going to churches and then getting annoyed by the priest or the liturgy or even something so petty as the perfume on the woman in front of me. I’m looking for something that I can count on. I’m looking for a guarantee that when i kick the bucket i’ll find Paradise. I know this is childish and childlike but I really can’t help myself. I want to believe that as soon as our light gets turned out here a bigger light gets turned on someplace else. Undoubtedly, there are palm trees, and Patsy Cline singing ,and there’s a whole bunch of things to eat that you really want to eat like shepherds pie and a vanilla frappe. All the dogs you ever owned come running up to meet you. You’re as happy as you can ever remember because really you never believed in that kind of happiness. In the afterlife there is real happiness. You know this because you don’t feel nervous feeling it.
Anyway, when my mother was dying she said to me all the time that she wished I could go with her because it would be a whole lot more fun having me there. I have no doubt that this is true. I’m a lot of fun. Once she asked me to bring her a minister and that presented a quandary to me. Should I bring her a very handsome young minister which was her very favorite kind of guy or should I look for somebody that’s going to actually give her a spiritual boost? In the end I opted for the second type and I asked a woman priest from a local church to come to our house. On the day the woman was to arrive my mother took special care with her make up and her bed jacket and was propped up on her best linens preparing to greet the gate keeper to heaven.
As soon as the woman walked in I knew she and my mom were not going to be fast friends. Every time the woman looked away my mother rolled her eyes at me. She asked my mother if she wanted to say a prayer with her and my mother nodded her head. The woman closed her eyes and started to pray and it was all I could do not to look at my mother because I knew she was making faces at me. When the prayer was over and the minister left I turned my mother and said, what did you think? I hope that visit was helpful.
My mother looked at me with a completely straight face and said, “Theres only one thing worse than a minister, and that’s a lady minister”.
At the time I laughed for a long time and I still do telling you this story 18 years later. My mother was an amazing character and I miss her so much. I don’t know of anyone else who understood me as well and saw the world in such a unique way. Her best advice to me was “You can either have a good day or bad day, it’s up to you.
She sure was right.