Frankie and I flew to Castlegar for my Mom’s funeral. Her service was held at the little Catholic church in Nelson I used to go to as a child.
I sit on the smooth wooden bench and survey the familiar altar, the rock work on the wall behind it, and the big crucifix with Jesus, his hands and feet driven through with nails. This is the sight to which we bring our children. A dead person nailed to a cross. I’m thinking it’s rather a gruesome statue we worship in front of. Wouldn’t we do better with visions of a smiling Jesus, his arms open wide? I never liked going church. I hated sitting still. I’m sure I have undiagnosed attention deficit.
It’s strange to see my mother’s name on a prayer card with “Rest in Peace.” I feel completely disconnected, like I’m watching TV. Relatives that have come from out of town tell me what a heavy load I have with my mother’s death on top of Nicholas’ diagnosis with cancer. I haven’t shed one tear.
For a minute I see myself on this smooth wooden bench sitting between my parents and I realize I took for granted the comfort of belonging to a family who loved me. I begin to feel sad but don’t like the vulnerability that follows so I retreat behind the clear plastic wall that keeps me from the world. I can allow myself only to think about Nicholas in Vancouver.
On the phone, FH tells me that Nick has gone 24 hours without a fever. Afebrile (new medical term meaning “without fever”). Hallelujah.