This is one of the stories I promised yesterday. If you did not read that post, and if you are comfortable with the trigger warning (it’s not too bad), then please go ahead and do so. Otherwise you are going to think there is something very wrong with me. You might think that anyway, but… Oh, just go read.
This story takes place about two days before my Dad died. My Dad was an atheist. My stepmom is originally from Mexico, and she is Catholic.
If you know anything at all about the Mexican people, then you know how important family and gathering together is to them. They are a tight-knit community, and they are there for each other through thick and thin. If you know anything about Mexican Catholics, then you know how devoted they are to their religion and to its associated rituals.
If you know anything about atheists, then you know that the stories about deathbed conversions are largely false, and that it is as insulting to us to suggest that we will suddenly “come to Jesus” on our deathbeds as it is to suggest that you will forsake Christianity in favor of Islam on yours. Just saying…
So, about two days before my Dad died, my stepmom (let’s just call her “Sofie”) asked her local parish priest to come to her house for a religious service. She also invited all of her female relatives to attend.
My Dad was bedridden. He was in and out of consciousness, mostly out, at this time. The cancer was in his brain.
The priest and all of the ladies arrived. All the women gathered around my father’s bed in a big circle and joined hands. The priest started the sermon. I did not identify as an atheist at this time, but I also did not identify as Christian. I would say I was edging towards agnosticism. Still, I respectfully joined in. I thought it was the least I could do for Sofie, and my Dad was out of it, so what was the harm?
Of course my father chose this particular time to resurface into consciousness. He looked around almost wildly for a second with a look that bespoke his extreme irritation at finding himself the focal point of such a gathering. He found my face in the circle and looked at me as if to say, “What in the HELL is going on here?” I just looked back at him with a sheepish grin and shrugged. He made a noise in his throat like, “kah!” , put his head back down, deliberately closed his eyes, and drifted back to unconsciousness.
Yes, I think this story is funny. It was all so absurd. I still chuckle when I remember his face. It was just… *priceless*.
I’m sorry, Dad, but you would have laughed, too. You know you would have.
All My Love,