My mom is dying. She has been through living hell for some time now, and there is really no doubt at this point that she is physically and mentally prepared for death.
So that's what all of this is really about. What is all of this conversation of religion vs. reason about if it is not about the ultimate truth of Life and Death. It is the inevitability and uncertainty we all either learn to live with or blissfully ignore. Some of us accept things for a finality, a completion and return to the earth, a peace and an eternal rest. Some of us, equal in all levels of intelligence and mental capacity, find comfort in expectations of an afterlife. A soul escaping the boundaries of the body and transcending into the ether. A magical and perfect existence to reward us for the virtues of our physical life.
Is that not what religion gives us? It is the same solution, more or less, that is offered by the mediums and psychics of the world. An unprovable and whimsical solution to life's most asked questions. I have very close and intelligent friends who believe there may be ghosts that haunt troubled or traumatized physical locations. The wronged and dead who can't leave the horrible place that left them to rot. Not to be facetious, but would you spend your afterlife tormenting and playing mild tricks for eternity in some location that you found to be obviously an unhappy and unrewarding place? Not me, I'll spend some time catching up on old movies and reading books.... ok hanging out at the gym at the woman's locker room.
Whatever the case, we find reasons for life and explanations of death. It is not easy, and we often turn to the safe superstitions of our forefathers.
My family and I had a very difficult conversation today, with my mom home for a few hours from the nursing home, on Mother's Day. We discussed her death, with my son and daughter present, my wife and mother and law, and my father and brother.
My brother is a devout born again evangelical. He found this about himself after a very hard run of making some mistakes due to influences of alcohol and drugs. He found comfort and safety in this, he found good friends and a second family in his Christian metal band and his church. I do not judge him for this, however I am quite certain that he would be offended if he knew my true beliefs.
I have longed for a day when he and I could have an intelligent discussion about the different beliefs we carry (rather his presence of one and my lack of one). That has not happened, so I choose to remain polite and courteous to his mini sermons and attempts to spread the "word". It was all the more difficult to hear this during a talk of my mother's death today. There were certain points where I felt good taste had been abandoned in an effort to convey the "power of prayer" and how spiritually strong he and his friends had become. It was almost as if I was listening to someone tell me how powerful they had become in the Force and the proof that they could influence minds and matter with their power.
The point is, I chose to respect his beliefs even as he chose to use the discussion of our mom's death. I understand why he did this, he was very choked up and even apologetic that he didn't know enough scripture that he could quote for us. He truly felt he was doing a service for us all, and my wife and I were exchanging furrowed glances. This was not easy for us to sit through, and the best I could do was tell him his friends' support was very appreciated (which is true), and that we all want the best for mom and her comfort.
My wife and I talked about this on the ride home, and she even asked why I did not explain to him that we found that situation inappropriate and awkward to hear about his beliefs. I guess the reason is that I did not want to jump in the fray, and I know that my beliefs offend him while his beliefs merely annoy me.
Today was a powerful mother's day and a good day overall. We all ultimately had a good time and there was a hilarious incident with some hot sauce (that shit was HOT... Mad Dog's Insanity Sauce I believe... do NOT play with that shit. If there is a hell, its bottled up and sold as Mad Dog's Insanity Sauce).
I love my brother, and I love my mother. My mother wants he and I to do her eulogy, I just want to go second so I can really keep it about mom and not a 2000 year old set of superstitious beliefs. Sorry, but it is very concerning.