I yelled at God the other day.
Well, I yelled at someone. I know that much. I was standing in the shower, completely overwhelmed, letting the hot water pound against my body, steam rising into a fog. I was alone my house (unless you count my dog) and I just started yelling. “What is the point?” I screamed out. “Why put people on this planet only to watch them suffer and then die?”
Some more things were said, but I never got an answer. Not one I heard, anyway. I eventually got out of the shower, wiped my eyes (I’ve been pretty teary lately, for some reason), and got dressed. I dried my hair, styled it, and stared at myself in the mirror. My eyes were puffy and red from crying. “You have 24 hours, God. Show your children what the point of all this bullshit is.” I have no idea what I was threatening “God” with. I have no idea what I was thinking when I said these things.
Let me backtrack a bit… I personally don’t believe in the Catholic version of God. Mom and Dad raised us Protestant, but we never avid church-goers. In fact, my last time in a church before Mom’s passing was for my ex-husband’s great-grandmother’s funeral. Before that, probably when I attended Bible Study as a child, or maybe some flea market or something. Mom always talked about going to a Mass of some sort around the holidays. She really wanted to go and sometimes asked if I would attend with her. Of course I said yes, and I would have, had she went, but she never did.
But my personal beliefs are more of the polytheistic variety. I am Wiccan. A few years ago, after I had separated from my husband, I talked to Mom about it. She’d always known I was interested in the occult and anything New Age-y, but it was the first time I really came out and told her the entire truth. To my surprise, she was quite supportive of it. I still use “God” as a generic term because, a) I don’t like to draw attention to my beliefs because they are personal and I’m not willing to engage in any sort of “debate” with people over why what they believe I’m wrong, and b) it’s just simply easier. God, to me, represents a Higher Power, a source of Life, something bigger than everyone on this planet, not a specific entity confined to one particular religion.
That being said, Mom always asked me in the months leading up to her passing whether I would take her cross necklace and ring when she passed. I told her of course, but I had no intention of actually wearing it because I felt it was wrong to wear it if I didn’t believe in it.
That all changed on the day she left our world. I saw her lying there on the ground, covered with a blanket, eyes still open but clouded, staring off into a blank space above her. Her hands were clasped on her chest. My brother, sister, Dad, and I were crowded around her, saying our good-byes. When we agreed it was time to let them whisk her away, I said we should remove her jewelry. I’ve heard so many horrible stories about how things go missing, jewelry gets stolen, and I didn’t want that to happen. She loved her jewelry. And I was so adamant about respecting her wishes that I take a certain piece of the jewelry. My sister is not a jewelry person, and Dad and my brother obviously didn’t want it. So I asked if it was okay to take the ring. Everyone agreed.
I put it on my finger to keep it from getting lost in the midst of everything. I’ve not taken it off since. I realized it doesn’t matter if Mom and I believed the same things, it didn’t matter if our religious symbols weren’t the same, the point was that I was respecting her wishes. I was wearing something that meant so much to her.
Which brings me back to this day. It was last Thursday. I spent most of the day in tears, stressed from working all day and knowing I’d have to get up and do the same thing all day Friday. I just wanted my day off to come. I wanted the pain to stop. I wanted to sit and relax, maybe take a bath. Instead I was rushing to get ready so I could take my dog to his rehab.
I loaded him into the car and made the drive to the plaza where he received his treatment. (The belief is that he has a ruptured disc in his neck, but this was never confirmed with an MRI or other scan.) There was another dog getting his therapy when we arrived, so I walked him around the plaza. I thought about Mom, what she was doing, if she was watching over me, over the rest of us, if she was happy and pain-free.
I took Mr. Biscuits down an alley in the middle of the plaza. The alley was paved, empty except for little sprouts of grass that fought their way through the concrete. I turned the corner and there, in the middle of the alley, was a large white feather sitting on the ground, at least eight inches long and in perfect condition. Almost as though, as crazy as it sounds, it was placed there by… something. I stopped in my tracks and stared at it, then a smile crept across my face as I picked it up.
I put it on the visor in my car. Some people probably think I’m crazy, but I know Mom. I know what she would leave for me to let me know she’s thinking of me. To let me know I’m not alone. She’s gone from this world, but somewhere, she still exists.