Sat in the doctors room and being told the alien was getting stronger and my mam was getting weaker was the day I lost all faith.
I actually felt it rush out of my entire body, like a sponge being rung out or dust being blown off an old book.
I was brought up Methodist and would say a lot of the teachings of how to ‘love thy neighbour’ have stuck with me and helped to shape my understanding of community. However, I was never compelled enough to attribute this will to be a good person to a higher being, even though deep down I really wished I could; I really wanted to believe there was a greater plan, an omnipotent moral compass that kept right and wrong from colliding, a higher love that would protect and care for those who needed it. I stopped wishing on that day, when I cried into my dad’s shoulder for the life that was being shortened by an aggressive infliction.
An aggressive, cruel and torturous infliction that was cast upon one of the kindest women and strongest believers in the world. A woman who would give anyone her last free hour in the day or the last penny in her pocket. She took her role as a mother, a wife and a friend extremely seriously. She also had the faith I never did; she always went to church, prayed for better days and told us that ‘everything happened for a reason’.
Well what is the reason for putting such a woman through this pain and suffering? Pulling her family apart? Stopping short the unfaltering love she gave to this world?
There is no fair or just reason for doing so and I do not care how much theological or philosophical theories could rationalise it – they can’t!
I am not crusading for people to abandon religion (I understand the importance and strength it gives to some. Studying A-level RE, I could write a whole paper on fors and againsts) I am just saying I have very firmly closed the door on any I may have clung to in the past. My mam’s and my prayers have not been listened to.
Cuddled up with my mam in bed today, she whispered that she was still praying for a miracle. I wanted one just as much, but my faith had most certainly faltered.
I now look elsewhere.
Text messages, cards, flowers, visitor after visitor, the sheer strength shown by my dad and sister, the compassion of the neighbour over the road, the beyond empathetic support shown by my partner, the generosity of my colleagues, the consistent consideration from friends and the weight that a community is collectively holding for what will soon be a great loss.
Being in the family home, with my mam laid in bed and neighbours, aunties, uncles and friends all rallying around, I am beginning to find a different, more reliable faith for me.