Ever since I lost my mother my relationship with God has taken a beating. Frankly, I’m pissed.
I watched her suffer for so many years with cancer. It weakened her body and her spirit and my faith in God.
I’m sad because she grew up without a dad to watch over her. He bled to death when she was 18 months old. I’m annoyed that she was not always treated right by her relatives when she was but a child. I remember a story she told me: She asked her grandmother if she could please have a banana because she was hungry. Her grandmother said to her in Italian, “You can’t have that banana because you’re not a son of a Grasso.” What the hell is that all about? I can’t even imagine my grandparents ever saying that to me.
I’m angry because her childhood was cut short when the social welfare people pulled her out of school at 15 years old so that she could go to work to support her grandmother, her mother and herself. She never had an education and was forced to be THE adult.
At 15 years old, shouldn’t our parents be taking care us? My mom and dad did. I know I didn’t grow up wanting for anything and had a completely different life than my parents; but aren’t kids supposed to be kids? Shouldn’t they be allowed to have fun and play and not work to support a family? At 15 years old my biggest concerns were what shade of blue eyeshadow I should spread across my eyelids, how would I get that certain guy to like me and how could I outsmart my parents so I can continue with my philosophy of life and not theirs.
When I pray now (yes I still pray) I find myself praying to my mom for strength, guidance and protection. I rarely address JC if ever, anymore. My mom has become my God.
I went to my Aunt Gladys’ wake last night. Uncle Mikey, her husband, just died in November and my dad lost his best friend. When I was listening to both the nun and the son talk about her going back home to Jesus, though emotional, I felt myself internally rolling my eyes and getting more and more cynical.
When mommy died I was worried about her. I didn’t know where she was or if she was out of pain. I worried about her well-being whether she was on this earth or not. I stressed that she was okay or not okay – or I didn’t know what. I was confused and doubtful. Maybe that had something to do with my husband (born and raised Catholic) who believes that when you go in the ground, it’s the only place that you’ll ever be. He does not believe in Heaven or Hell or much of anything. It deeply saddens me.
My relationship with God may be damaged but my “faith” is still strong. When strange things started happening I felt a sense of relief that she was peaceful, out of pain and in Heaven with everyone else. Maybe she’s even with her father that she didn’t know. Maybe she’s playing cards with my Aunt Mimi and Aunt Tootsie or sitting on a porch swing just BS ing. Or maybe her soul has been recycled and has been put on this earth again to live yet another life.
I may never know until I die too.
Yesterday on my way up the Garden State Parkway I was listening to my IPOD in my car. It shuffles the almost infinite number of songs it possesses. I stopped at the cemetery to visit Mom. We had a long talk. I told her that I was going to Aunt Gladys’ wake. I told her that Johnny Maestro died at 70 from cancer. (We were Brooklyn Bridge groupies. We followed them everywhere.) I talked about a host of other goings on, said bye and left.
My mood being a tad somber, the song that was playing was a definite 90’s dance music mix and too loud for me at that moment. I hit the “next song button” and all of a sudden I heard Johnny Maestro singing My Prayer. My mom’s favorite. She requested that song every time we saw them and they played it for her.
I immediately started crying. I knew she was listening. I knew she was trying to tell me something. I sobbed all the way to my dad’s and as I pulled into his street and into the driveway, the song was over.
When Phyllis died a part of me died with her.
ARE YOU THERE MOM? IT’S ME JACKIE.