Such a long time since I have written anything down and such a lot has happened. Sobriety remains strong but no longer is the focus of my life. My mother is dying of lung cancer. That changes your focus and brings a lot of things into perspective.
As I pen these words, I am sitting in her lounge in the UK. Lee-on-the-Solent in Hampshire to be exact. The lounge is cluttered, but comfortable and, being half past midnight, I am basking in the quiet – a commodity not easily found of late, but more of that later. I have not seen much of her today. As the pressure of the ebbing of her life bares down on me, I feel a much stronger need to withdraw. I don’t particularly like this quality, but it is one I am having to face. The irony is that although I am withdrawing, I also have a need to be around people. It means that I want to be near people, but I don’t want to be bothered BY them. I want to be left alone, to let the world go on around me, whilst I sit here, in suspended animation in my own thoughts and actions. Of course, that isn’t always possible, but today, for some reason, my family sensed I needed it and gave me the space I needed.
So what did I do with this space I had been afforded. Not a lot actually. I transferred all my contacts from my mac book pro contacts to my entourage contacts. There was purpose in this madness. My mother, who is dying, has decided that she would like to help a little girl at her church called Grace. Grace is 19 months old and has Rett Syndrome. She cannot talk, sit, walk and finds eating difficult. She has captured my mothers heart. My mom has to undergo radiation therapy because her lung cancer has spread to her brain and she has decided to shave her hair off before she loses it to cancer. She has asked us to organise an event, inviting friends and family to witness my dad shaving her head. She is asking everyone who comes to please make a small donation and she is going to donate the money to Rett Syndrome research. A local newspaper picked up the story and came to interview her. They asked her why she was doing this amazingly inspiring thing. She replied, “My life may be coming to an end, but Grace’s is just beginning. Why would I not want to help her.” I am emailing all my friends to make a donation to my mother’s cause.
My mom has been given only a few months to live. How does one deal with that information. One day, you are imagining growing old with your mom (who is only 19 years older than you are) and the next you are forced to imagine a life without her. I have decided that I definitely don’t like this game. Life continues to be unfair.
My mother has only recently become a Christian and given her life to Jesus and to God. At around the same time, barely a few weeks before her fatal diagnosis, I decided that there was just too much evidence to prove that God did not exist. Like a child that discovers santa claus does not exist, I grievously mourned the letting go of something so ingrained in my socialisation. I felt like I was lost and alone in the desert. But the evidence, or lack of it, was irrefutable, I had determined. Of course, my mother’s affliction only served to prove my point of view. What kind of a loving God would put what I consider to be the most wonderful, graceful, beautiful soul through such a thing? Surely, no loving God could or would do this.
I arrived in the UK angry, scared and desperately wanting to be strong. For someone who didn’t believe in God, I found myself really angry at Him a lot. I am a Humanist, I declared to my now solidly Christian family. I had gone from being the kind, dependable one in the family to the one who didn’t believe – EEK! Yet my mother, who had only recently made this act of commitment to God would proudly introduce me to her Christian friends and tell them with pride that I was a Humanist. They would all nod and smile as if to say ‘It’s only a matter of time.’ At first, this annoyed me, like I was some sort of lemming that would hurl itself over the cliff like everyone else. But, slowly, as I have gotten to know these remarkable people, I have been unable to deny that there is something there. Something peaceful resides within this Christian mob and that peace feeds my mother.
The jury is still out with me. It is a fine line, this God thing. Religion, and the atrocities committed in the name of it, does not sit well with me. But, my research has hit a bit of a dead end. Whilst science can largely prove the big bang theory, there seems to be little evidence of of what caused the big bang. So, what we are left with is no way of irrefutably proving the existence of God but also no way of irrefutably denying the existence of God. Well that isn’t any good really, is it? Especially for an intellectual thinker like myself. I like proof, I like evidence, but, strangely, I also like to think that we are not alone. Especially at times like this. I secretly admit to wanting someone/something supernatural to hold me and let me find peace within this seemingly unreasonable predicament. I have dared to hope for a miracle. I have contemplated getting on my knees and praying, although I didn’t because I felt that lacked a certain amount of integrity since I would be doing it really just to hedge my bets and not truly because I believe that God will cure my mom, or make her suffer less, or whatever else He has in store for her. True to form, I asked my mom that when she dies, if there is a God and Heaven, if she could please send me a sign. Faith is something, it seems, I sadly lack.
So, where does that leave me? In a vast, gaping, no-man’s land, it seems. I don’t totally believe there is no God, but I also cannot totally believe there is a God. To support my education on all things religious and supernatural I have done research into other Gods/prophets, etc. I like the idea of Buddhism, that whole cause and affect thing (Karma), really appeals to me. Taoism is also a good one, although not as good as buddhism, I fear. Hinduism is not really my cup of tea and I have yet to do full research on Islam, although my dad, the other intellectual thinker of the family, has been giving me a bit of insight into it. I wasn’t brought up Christian per se, but being anglo-western, it is the easiest for me to grasp because it is a part of our culture.
Mortality is funny how it brings up these questions on the meaning of life and where we go when we die. I am selfish. I want my mom to reside with me, so that when I come across life’s hiccups, which anyone who has read my blog will realise happens to me a lot, I can ask, as I have always done for her advice, and she can impart it and the balance of my universe will be restored. Why would God want to upset that? If he has the power to create an entire universe, can he not take away the tumour that is ravaging her lung and sapping her of all her energy? It was her biggest wish not to die of a disease that will cause her not to be able to breathe. Of course, the Law-of-Attraction proponents will say that my mother brought this on herself because she attracted that which she most thought about and feared. I can’t put here what I think of that (insert any expletive you can think of). But I do ask the question, why would God allow my beautiful mother to die of a disease that has frightened her the most?
Strangely, and like a true Christian, whilst afraid of dying, she doesn’t question God’s plan. My problem is that we are expected to accept the plan without any documentation of what that might be. Why would He give me a mind that is totally on the go all the time, questioning EVERYTHING, accepting nothing, if He wanted me to buy into His plan? I ask you God, why would you do that. I consider it to be a form of torture. Yet, niggling in the recesses of my thinking brain is the question What If…