The sympathy cards still arrive on a regular basis, though admittedly, it's gone from a deluge to a trickle of one or two a day. Along with the Hallmark, weíve received loads of Mass cards, telling us that my brother's soul has been entered into prayer for the next year with the Cappuccin monks or the Carmelite sisters or the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi, the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Mercy, the parish of St. Patrick's, the parish of Transfiguration of Our Lord, the parish of, the parish of, the parish of...
Itís astounding right now, because Iíve got a flaming ball of anger and the need to yell at the sky, but Iíve also got just enough respect for my faith to stay out of church for awhile. I canít take comfort from the ritual of Mass when all I want to do is throttle the priest.
A cafeteria Catholic, thatís what I am. I go down the line, picking and choosing what I want from my religion, rejecting what I think of as hate, as ostracism, as limiting and antiquated and useless. If I really thought about it, Iím afraid Iíd end up denouncing myself as a right hypocrite, because I know that my calmer moments come from imagining Frankie in That Better Place, watching over us through windows of dreams and kept warm by walls that are insulated by our prayers.
My sister, who is a teacher for the deaf in a Catholic school, has more faith than I do, which I suppose is why, though she was closest to him, sheís not as unglued as I am. Her faith lasts longer, holds stronger, where mine is fragile and only emerges in small bits here and there, giving me a few good minutes in the midst of a really bad hour.
The rest of the time, Iíve got a mouth full of filth Iíd like to hurl through a stained-glass window. I shake my fist at God, and cry for answers, which just makes me angrier because I know itís useless, because I know I wonít get answers, and because no matter what I believe or donít believe, no matter how much I pray or donít pray, Frankie is still gone, and heís never coming back.
Nothing I do, nothing anybody does will ever bring him back, and thatís the part that burns the most.
Today makes it four weeks, and Sunday makes it a month. Tuesday will be the one month memorial Mass, and as of this very moment, I can't really wrap my mind around the idea that one day, at some point in the future, I'll be able to go a day without this throbbing ache in my chest.
I havenít seen my brother in four weeks.
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