Maine8I’m not going to hell. I’m not.

I was raised Catholic and taught that if I was cremated I would go to hell. I AM going to be cremated – in fact, I heard you can become an actual ‘firework’ and that sounds pretty damn good to me. That’s how I see my last hoorah. That’s how the people who know me best would probably see me go too. And I have no doubt, no matter what I was taught to believe, that I WILL NOT go to hell.

My Step Dad has a mechanical heart pump. My mother has a heart of gold. I can’t tell you exactly what it is that they do on a daily basis to keep each other alive, but I do know that it’s hard. He carries a battery around and an oxygen tank. You can also throw an IV drip of antibiotics into that mix. I carry a purse, with a couple diapers and feel weighted down. Perspective…

I visited my Mom and Terry (T-Mc-D as he is more affectionately called) last week. I’m beyond sorry that I hadn’t been back East for almost eight years.

I watched a couple, struggling to make the most of the time that they have left together, be touched by, and grateful for, the people who took the time to come around. If you’ve ever wanted to appreciate the life that you’re leading, talk to a man who knows that his nine lives are running out. I am lucky that the man I know and love, the man who married my mother and made her happier than I’ve ever seen her, ever, ever, ever, is openly appreciative of the doctors, technology and sci-fi magic that has extended his life longer than anyone had ever hoped for.

He made me think.

We talked about life. We talked about death. But the one thing that stood out to me was our conversation about being Catholic and knowing that we were destined for hell if we were cremated.

Believe.

Believe whatever you want to believe. What I hope for is that your beliefs give you comfort, not just today, but ultimately, give you total comfort in the end. And if they don’t, I hope you can see past the fear and find your own comfort. Because the truth is, when we stare out into the night, alone with our own thoughts and memories, knowing yourself better than anyone should make the thought of ending up in hell – laughable.

For me it is.

I’ve made mistakes – MANY. I’ve sinned. I will again. But I know me. I REALLY, REALLY know me. My heart bursts daily with love and optimism for the world, for my family, for animals, for strangers… I cry. I scream. I fight. I lose. I win.

I’m not going hell.

I know this.

I’m not.