He is in a better place, she hums into my ear. It sounds like confrontation, though she means it as comfort. I know I should want to hug her for attempted kindness. Everything feels like I’m on Disneyland’s Space Mountain ride, a blur of black and unease. I can’t tell where I should look.
Now, she is patting my back and I’m tasting bile crawling up my throat. None of this feels okay. So, I do not say anything. I decide that is safer.
Her religion is not my religion. And there is nothing wrong with that. I love that she prays and the way she clutches her necklace when she needs a reminder to grab onto. She has a heart full of love and it’s one of my favorite things about her. Her purity is not the kind of thing you find in the Bible, it is something within a soul. It’s not because she has memorized psalms, but because she is just a good person. I wonder how I can tell her this. I decide I won’t.
I know my lack of religion is not in competition with her faith. I applaud her in all that she is and all she does. I want her to realize my path to religion isn’t one she needs to dig. She doesn’t understand I do not want her belief. I want my own. Let me have my grief. I want to coat my heart in it right now. But she just raises her voice. She tries to save me a little bit harder.
Maybe if he had accepted Jesus, she tries and everything inside me breaks into pieces. But he was Jewish, I think. This isn’t time to talk about Jesus, I want to tell her. This isn’t a time to talk about your religion, I want to scream. We don’t even have his urn back yet. I am thinking of how I can explain this without sounding cold. But maybe I deserve to be cold. I am always walking on egg shells so I never hurt or offend anyone, but I just watched my father turn into a skeleton. Maybe I’m allowed this time to be angry. Maybe I don’t want your prayers right now. I am hurting and grieving with a stained glass heart that looks like something shattered beyond repair.
In this moment, please, do not approach me with an agenda disguised as glue.