I feel like I understand now why Catholics don’t just pray to God, but also to saints. It’s not that saints themselves can answer prayers, but they can pray for us too. Plus, as much I like chatting with God, sometimes I want to talk to someone else.
Like my mom.
Today marks nine months since my mom died.
Grief still sucks. A lot.
I don’t know how heaven works. I don’t know how sainthood works, although I’m pretty sure the Catholic Church has made a few dubious choices for saints over the years. But I like to think of my mom up in heaven, hanging out with her sister, their parents, and even their step-mother. I think that in heaven, our souls are fully cleansed of our earthly sins, hurts, and regrets, leaving only love, joy, and peace behind.
I like the fact that even when I was a child, my parents didn’t pretend to know everything about Christian theology, including how heaven works. Thus when I share my Christian beliefs, I try to do so with the explicit understanding that not only do I not know everything, I could be wrong on what I do know.
But right now, the idea of an immediate afterlife comforts me, as does the idea that there’s more than one way to get into heaven. I don’t want to delve into the academic works of centuries of theologians to see what learned people have to say on heaven.
I just want to talk to my mom. All the time.
I think God understands why I spend more time talking to my mom right now than I do to Her. Mom might not ever be a Catholic saint, but she’s my saint.
I talk to Mom about NCIS a lot. It was one of her favorite shows. I started watching it on Netflix a few weeks after she died. It’s almost like we’re sitting on the couch, watching TV together.
I cried at the end of Season 2. All I wanted to do was pick up the phone and call my mom. But I couldn’t.
I haven’t figured out how to tell Mom that Michael Weatherly (Anthony DiNozzo) is leaving the show. Of course, I’m not nearly that ahead in the series on Netflix, but I’ve read all the headlines.
Mom and I used to playfully argue about who was more attractive, DiNozzo or Gibbs. It was clearly a generational gap, as she always thought Mark Harmon (Leroy Jethro Gibbs) was more attractive.
I tell Mom how lonely I sometimes still get in Georgia, a year after moving to Duluth. It’s a lot harder to make friends as an adult, especially when you work from home. And all the suggestions I’ve read for meeting new people involve more money, time, and energy than I feel like spending. I’d rather spend my money, time, and energy on maintaining my long-distance friendships.
I already feel like I don’t properly juggle my marriage, my relationships, my writing, my health, and my responsibilities. I don’t want my relationships to ever feel like part of my to-do list. Right now, the idea of meeting new people feels exactly like that.
I tell my mom about my garden. About the tulips and the daffodils with their short lifespans. I thank her for the Easter lily she let me keep after church last year which is now so green and happy in my garden. I can’t wait to see it bloom. I complain to my mom about the pollen that coats everything right now. I ask her about the random ground-cover in my garden with its pretty yellow flowers and strange red fruit-like flowers. My butterfly bush is green again. In my mother’s garden, I’m attempting to root one of her hydrangeas to take back with me to Georgia in a few months.
But no matter how hard I try to still talk to my mom, to put my thoughts and feelings into the universe with the willful intent of my mom receiving them, it’s not the same.
I can’t just pick up the phone and call her. She can’t hold me when I cry. I can’t laugh at her neediness when she asks for just one more hug, or she holds my hand across the dinner table, or she begs for me to play with her hair (like mother like daughter). She can’t give me advice or reassurance.
Sometimes my faith isn’t enough. No matter how much I want to believe in God’s plan, and how much I do believe in God’s love, and how much I’m pretty sure heaven is something–it’s not always enough.
I am human, and I just want my mom on Earth with me. I love her, and I miss her.
More than anything else, that is what I tell her.
I just hope that she hears it.