"I've been praying a lot."
"Praying is a sin, Mom," I said. (All the Bible study classes were finally paying off!)
Mom was about to go in for surgery again. I told her again and again it was going to be okay, but apparently she had to appeal to someone with more power and who was better looking.
"And I've been reading the Bible. I'm just so scared..."
"Well, it's not working, Mom. Maybe try Vishnu instead. Or Xenu. Or Scooby Doo."
"And I've been going to church. It's such a huge beautiful church. But I don't know if it's right for me. They're Baptist, you know. They're just... I don't know."
"Do they know you're going to have surgery?"
Mom sighed hugely. "I'm sure they don't care."
"Mom, I think your Bible is defective."
"But, listen, I'm going to wear these new shoes when I get back from the hospital. So you won't need to put on my socks like you had written in your blog. And all those other nasty things you wrote about me. I'm just glad you're no longer doing that."
"No, Mother. I mean, Smother."
"I'm just afraid I won't make it this time. I'm so scared..."
"It's all how you think about it. You can think that it will turn out fine and that you'll feel great."
"I'm sure it won't!"
"Look, you can posit two future universes. For me, for instance, I can die of colon cancer in a year. Lots of pain, chemo, hospital stays, general tragedy. In the other I can run off to Tahiti with Rachel and have three brown-skinned children, one of each. Or we could live in the present moment, just notice the shine on the table, the fresh air, the sunshine, and concentrate on our breathing in a medita--"
"Oh! I hate that breathing thing they give you in the hospital! They did that after the back surgery the first time. I had to breathe into that stupid thing ten times an hour! It's my back not my lungs that are the problem!"
"Mom, that's not what--"
"I just... hope that when I die... *sob*... God will forgive me for what I did to you boys."
"Again, Mom, you need to read your Bible extra hard because I think God is all about forgiveness. Just because you can't forgive yourself doesn't mean that God can't..."
"I don't know if He will."
"That's a great sermon topic: God MIGHT forgive you but he PROBABLY won't."
"And will you remember that Mewy needs water?"
"You have a great support group, Mom. Everything will be fine. It's not like I'll go off on July 4th weekend to South Dakota for sex. I would NEVER do that."
"And will you remember to clean the litter box?"
"Sure, Mom. Now, why don't you go to bed."
"It's two p.m.!"
"There, there." I patted her head.