Losing My Religion

I am angry.

So this is me. Using this blog as my spotlight. As I’m losing my religion.

It started the weekend of the muppets’ baptism. Baptism: the first of the Church’s seven sacraments – meant to signify purity and cleansing from sin as a devotion to God. The welcoming of the new generation into the faith.

Can you tell my family’s Catholic?

Every Sunday growing up, my butt was in that pew. My grandmother devotedly attended mass daily, with a special focus on First Fridays. One of my best friends spent our childhood giving practice sermons to his stuffed animals while the rest of us played Hot Wheels (he’s in seminary now).

Me? I’m really more of a Cafeteria Catholic. I pick and choose the elements that interest me. Stop judging me.

I’ve experienced six of the sacraments. (This is what happens when you grow up Irish/Italian.) And I was excited to celebrate the muppets’ baptism. During our ordeal of prematurity, the boys had so many prayers – Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, spiritual.

And then my mom called me. G.G. needed to rush to the hospital for an MRI. They weren’t coming. It was a brain tumor. Malignant melanoma. Spread to the lungs.

Since I was little, my grandmother proclaimed that when she became elderly, she wanted to be sent out on an ice float like Inuit of days gone by. She never wanted her body or mind to betray her. She had a master plan. One night she would go to sleep and never wake up.

Instead there were hospital stays, surgeries, radiation, in-home care. Hair loss, weight loss. Depression. Hospice.

Why?

Free will be damned. Why would a supposedly loving God punish someone so faithful, so devoted? Hundreds of First Fridays with prayers to meet St. Peter and spend eternity with loved ones gone before.

Why?

I spoke to my grandmother today. She’s failing fast. “I’m GOING to get better, Tricia,” she declared. “There’s only one way to go. That’s up.” I wouldn’t expect anything less from her. That’s my Grandma – can you see where I get it? I come from a long line of proud, stubborn women.

She cried.

How do you watch your mother and aunt tell your grandmother she no longer has to hang on? That it’s okay to let go. As they tell you not to visit. To remember her the way she was – an inspiration, the reason I tell stories.

Ten years of Religious Ed (CCD), four years of Marianist high school, four years of Jesuit university. I know the party line.

As humans we can’t begin to understand God’s plan. We are incapable of comprehending the complexity of what encompasses us. This is the reason for faith.

Bullshit. I cannot accept that. In this battle of good versus evil, the devil has definitely triumphed.

I want to believe that there is something more. I want to confidently say goodbye, knowing that I will see those I love again. That my grandmother will go to heaven and meet the child I never got the opportunity to know.

But right now, I’m angry. And it’s hard to think anything other than humanity as a collection of energetic atoms that will one day dissipate and be nothing more.

I’m trying to keep my view in perspective. And I don’t know if I can do it. I may have said too much here. But still, I haven’t said enough.

15 Comments

Filed under Angels, Family Stories

15 Responses to Losing My Religion

  1. Megan

    Thinking of you Tricia. I understand this post so well. I’m sorry you have to as well.

  2. holly

    I have to tell you that I can honestly say I know exactly how you feel. Exactly. I just never had your talent with words to express it. Thank you for putting these feelings in to words. I would like to say it gets easier to say goodbye as you get older. It does not. The feelings you are experiencing are very healthy, if you ask me. The saving grace for me is seeing my mom, my dad, my grandmothers and grandfathers in my offspring. Clear as day sometimes, not just the physical but the spiritual. They are not gone; they are living in your house. Look into the boys’ eyes. =)

  3. Joanne Hamann

    Beautifully written and the way all of those that love her so much feel. Holly’s got it right, though – look at those boys 🙂

  4. I’m sorry for your loss and your struggle. In my experience, I may not see the good in a situation for awhile, but I have discovered that the good is always there. If I’m willing to look for it…… Hang in there. Feelings aren’t facts, and change is the only constant. This too shall pass…….

  5. Uncle Paul

    Well said sis.

  6. Thanks all. Really. Thank you.

  7. Elizabeth

    Hang in there – your faith WILL carry you through.

  8. I want to say something wise and comforting. I want to have an answer to your question of “Why God?!”

    I’ve got nothing. This world sucks, at times. It is what it is, and just like I’ve been wrestling with myself this week, joy and grief intertwine and I can’t really make sense of it all either.

    All I’ve got to give you is this: You’re not the only one who feels this way.

    Peace.

  9. Michelle G.

    As a person that has experienced a lot of close losses I can tell you that God and I have not been in speaking terms for almost 20 years. It will be 20 years this coming November. I hold grudges.

    I am sorry for, Tricia.

  10. Nancy Welker

    Tricia,
    I’ve wrestled with this as well – thanks for putting words to it. <3

  11. As a woman who’s walked a similar path (even down to the Catholic grandmother), I know exactly where you’re coming from. And I get angry too. The “standard” line about us being human and unable to understand is never satisfying. I wish you peace. xoxo

  12. Amy

    Tricia,
    Your words exquisitely express the agony of watching someone so paramount in your life suffer through the battle at the end of theirs. I wish I could tell you that it gets easier. I wish I could tell you that you’d feel relief when she is finally pain free, but I can’t. It is going to hurt like Hell. All you can do is love her like crazy now. If you have to do it through the phone, or e-mail, or just In your thoughts, then do it. She’ll feel it, and you’ll feel better for having done it. But if you want, or need, to see her, then don’t let anyone stop you. Do what you need to do. This moment is your only guarantee. Live it and love in it. Take deep breaths. Remind yourself to breathe, often. Breathe and be well. My thoughts are with you.
    -Amy

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