Faithless.

Becoming devoid of faith cannot be my conclusion here because I refuse to believe I lack faith in my remaining time in this life. Losing faith in the God I’ve known, trusted in, and worshipped for 46 years is …well, that’s a sad conclusion and a decision you don’t take lightly, that’s for sure. And I don’t think it’s just a disagreement with man-made forms of religion either, because this feels stronger somehow. This feels like an actual loss of faith in the One. You know, the Big Guy, the Man with a Plan…God, himself. Because if there were indeed a God, why did he let our family fall apart?

I’m not necessarily saying it was all God’s fault, of course, but if I’ve believed he can perform these unworldly, wonderous miracles all my life, then surely he’s able to take them away. Right? Some of my extended family would gasp at the very notion, let alone mention of me losing my faith in God, but let me tell ya, those who haven’t been tested yet are the only faithful followers. Maybe they’re blindly following, but they have faith in it, to each their own and whatnot. They are still believers in nothing other than the God they’ve worshipped all their lives, typically handed down sometimes by ridiculous traditions generations after generations.

I’m not trying to be blasphemous either. If my 34-year-old husband can have a full-blown stroke and not ever be the same again, then I’m not sure who is looking out for us or what I believe in. Who’s to say that God didn’t let that happen? Again, please know that I’m not accusing the almighty, but I’m not letting him off the hook that easily either.

The Incident

Yes, in May of 2015, my 34-year-old husband suffered a stroke in his left prefrontal cortex while working a strenuous part-time job. This was a pivotal point in our little fam. Damaging most of the part of his brain that controls emotion, language, memory, creativity, and speech, amongst other things, this was certainly a shock.

One of those “other” things happened to be the one I fell in love with all those years ago: his sense of humor and how well we worked together with movie quotes at the most appropriate times. So when doctors assured us months later that he had made a 100% full recovery, they didn’t really know he made a full recovery; he just looked like it. Emotionally he is not the same. He’s not the man I fell in love with and married. He’s not the same man I decided to start and grow a family with – he called this “our kingdom.” Sadly, he barely bats an eye at being a dad anymore, let alone act like the man who was my rock through mania and depression.

At first, it was awkward around the house. The kids didn’t know how to talk to Dad anymore, and Dad didn’t really talk very much at all. After a year or two, I noticed he was somehow getting worse, not better. When Dad spoke, he yelled. Now, D says he has “lost” his feelings, but he hasn’t – he gets madder than a mofo, unlike how he was pre-stroke. His angry eyes come out way too fast and furious now, and no one knows what triggers this. No one has broken through to him that the way he treats us is not okay – nor is it normal for him. The kids no longer go to him to get an opinion or talk or even ask if they can go somewhere or have a friend over. It’s all on mom now.

Now What?

Now, I mom constantly, and if it’s not for the three kids we have, it’s him I’m momming, and I have come to despise this, and no matter how hard I try to push getting another psychiatrist, he doesn’t believe it’ll help. See, his lovely neurosurgeon told him that he has a hole in his head and will never get better. He’ll never get back what he once had. There is no hope. Now, that pissed me right off – no medical professional should tell a patient there is no hope. Of course, there may not be, but to put someone in that mindset should be a sin in and of itself. Who the hell? So now D thinks he’s not fixable. He had tried multiple anti-depressants and was even diagnosed with major depressive disorder when he ran his truck into our garage door because I wouldn’t let him in the garage. (Long story involving D waving his gun around, saying if I leave him or call the cops, “we’re all going down.” Yes, scary, but the worst part was my mom and brother signing the paperwork to have him committed to the inpatient psych unit that weekend). I’ll touch on that in another post – later.

Pre-stroke, we used to socialize with other friends, family, church functions, and the kids’ private Catholic school. Post-stroke, I felt like we were such trouble to the entire school and congregation that we eventually pulled the kids out and enter public schools, which has been excellent and terrible. Catholic parents talk so much smack. Sorry (not really), but if you’re a Catholic parent that sends their kids to a private Catholic school, you are most undoubtedly prone to gossip more than the average parent. Especially you moms (and I say this based on experience, please do with that what you will), who surprisingly yet gently stab you in the back while sharing any bit of personal info to create more talk amongst the other parents, staff, and even the school staff. But then the public schools are on a whole other level. Literally, I’ve had genuine concerns about my kids’ safety, bullying, and mean teachers.

Doubt

God was not there for us when we needed him most. I feel let down, yet at the same time, I constantly remind myself how lucky we are that he survived. Maybe God was there; he was just late. Then why wouldn’t God give him entirely back? Why would God want us to suffer through this version of the man I love for the rest of our lives? One too many times in the past five years, I’ve heard him say that he wishes he would have just died that day. The thought of D thinking about not being here for our kingdom pains me too much to describe, but he usually says that stuff after we have a fight. Lately, D is negative when he doesn’t get his way. He says things that are so out of character for him and more likely to come out of my mouth than his. Basically, vulgar, sarcastic, and usually forgotten almost immediately after speaking.

I don’t know if I believe the whole God and The Bible story. I mean, it’s a fantastic story, but what if it ends at that, just a story? A work of fiction. Imagine: what if a bunch of guys got together way back then and decided to start a chain letter of sorts that just became a glorious work of fiction that people took and ran with. Someone decided, no, not fictional; let’s sell it as non-fiction, just to see if people will believe. And poof, just like that…the story of the Holy Bible is true. Fact. And the believers are called Christians or Catholics or any other person who don’t believe in Christ, shall be outcast.

Interesting take to some, but I don’t know if I buy that version either.

(And since none of us truly know and we can’t prove either way, there’s no point trying to convince me the Holy Bible is a factual collection)

So when someone asks me what religion I practice, I don’t answer anymore. I mean, what a loaded question, and why does it always have to be a religion you “belong” to? Why can’t it just be a simple question of, “Do you believe in God?” That makes so much more sense to me. Yes, I was born and raised a baby-making, beer-drinking Catholic, but I’ve lost faith too many times with these Catholics and their religious beliefs. I mean, who’s to say it’s something we should believe in? Who’s to say I’m a better person for going to church than not? I mean, if I don’t believe in religion, it’d be silly for me to keep faking it. Right?

Just my thoughts.

“It is easy – terribly easy – to shake a man’s faith in himself. To take advantage of that, to break a man’s spirit is devil’s work.”

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

“But who prays for Satan? Who, in 18 centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it the most?”

Mark Twain (I think)


Hollaback

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