I’m so pre-occupied with death lately. Maybe it’s the part of me that is longing to understand the things I always took for granted. There’s more room to think in an empty bed. I always find my thoughts wondering to how insignificant and scared I often feel.

When I was little- faith was incredibly easy. You were told something was purple, and it looked purple- it felt purple. You could see the other people all pointing and seeing the same color, because someone said it was so. Then it happened- whether it was college or beyond- I saw the grief and the destruction that parts of religion had left within me; the guilt, the fear and the complete isolation I felt when I no longer knew what to do with my questions. My parents- believe whole-heartfully in heaven. I started to think of it all as a fairy-tale, and in what I thought was my ‘awakening’ of my true, spiritual self, found my fear only heightened when faced with an ultimate dilemma: What do I believe? What will happen?

I’ve always said the pain of death isn’t what bothers me- it’s the nothingness that occurs after, (if it’s really nothingness at all.) I am devastatingly frightened of the unknown- of not existing- not feeling the way I feel now and not being able to look around and bask in the glory of cold air on my skin, fingers touching a keyboard and the sweet smell of lilacs in my room.

I found- the more I questioned, the less secure I started to feel. I started praying to feel differently, and I found goodness in people and offers- and the reaching out surprises me- it’s like people know when you need the reassurance. I keep telling myself: It won’t matter if I’m dead anyway- but how could I not live… for it’s the only thing I know how to do?

Maybe it just started to hit me- as the anti-aging ads suddenly matter, and I find myself laughing at the thought of ‘clubbing-’ I’m undeniably ancient. I never thought I’d be 27-  I saw myself as permenantly thirteen- caught between american girl dolls and a crush in the 8th grade. Then I was forever 18- away from home and confused- and now? I’m realizing I’m living my own demise. I find myself wanting to matter more and more- it’s almost consuming me. I pray nightly to try to make tomorrow a better day, and am beating myself up about little and big things, alike. I keep telling myself, “Live it right tomorrow- realize it’s not the things- but people,” and as much as I try to do- I feel absolutely that it will never be enough to fully live what little existance I have.

I wonder if we built fairy tales, or religions to ease exactly what is going on in my mind. We wanted so desperately to know that we matter, and there’s something else, that heaven became something to strive for- and hell’s what reminded us to be good, faithful, people. Everytime I think this- or question, I feel the pang of Catholic guilt- almost radiating from the inside-out. I’m questioning so much lately- and begging myself to be able to just believe, (when science and life is telling me differently.)

I vary, daily.. what do I believe? What will sustain me when I’m frightened at night and my stomach is in knots that tomorow is the last time I might see my daughter’s perfect face, or do just about anything I chose to do.

Does it hit you, as it hits me? The moments in which you realize your breathing is so ingrained that you’ve taken for granted the colors on the walls- or the way your eyes dart to find new patterns; the smells in the air or the feeling of your own breath on your tongue? It’s all so ominous- and there’s such longing to stay in each moment, and live like everyone who’s experienced this is reminding us how to live. It’s increasingly more stressful, and I find myself battling my own wits. Surely- the taste in my mouth and the clenching in my gut tell me something- it matters in the long-run, right? Really, it can’t be that we sleep without knowing we’re sleeping, and we decay forever to not matter, anymore. Seriously- how can that be? You are so full of passion one moment, and the next- a resemblence of what housed you lays in dirt and people whisper your name- and you don’t feel- everything you once felt. Tell me this doesn’t hit you, too?

When I was little, I used to stay awake at night with pains in my legs. My mother always told me these were ‘growing pains,’ (although, the height never came.) My body tried so hard to push and push- and I know my heart and mind are at a battle about fears, and the emotional capibility to accept: I have no say in any of this. I will readily admit: Kate is a control freak. (Seriously.) There has to be some way to reconcile this with myself. I need a break. It’s like my brain is growing up- and each pain- each fear I feel isn’t stunting, but surely isn’t inspiring, either. It’s like making sense of waves- you have no control of whether or not they’ll come in or what might drive you closer to the tide. There’s only little choices along the way which you can take control of. The rest is out of my hands- and as I grow older, and see each argument for and against heaven- I don’t know which way to turn. I want to stare at it in the face and say, “Dude: I cannot take this stress, anymore. My constant need to understand is undermining my ability to really achieve what I’m meant to on earth. I’m trying to be the most thoughtful and loving mom I can, but I spend my nights second guessing all my decisions.” -Should I have played with her the extra five minutes, because surely I’ll miss that in fifty years. Should I let her have more ice cream because in the long-run, it doesn’t really matter? Should I believe in something I am trying so hard to swallow but I’m spending every moment choking on? I’m coughing and sputtering- in the meantime, I’m trying to bite off more and more, and convincing myself things which I have no idea of anymore.

JB tells me that God isn’t looking for good or bad people, but faithful people. What if you try to do good things, but fail at other things- hurt people in the process and then have no clue what you believe? I want to be heartfully sorry for the things I did that have hurt others- but in some ways, I find the way in which my decisions have affected me have gotten me to here, and I really find no fault in where I am. I’m proud of my life, and my daughter, and know that although some choices have hurt others and ultimately stunted me- I don’t feel remorse as I should. Certainly that would mean that I’m not a faithful follower…

I have to know ‘why.’ I often see God in people, and think- that MUST be it. Surely- we are meant to do his work, HERE- the joining of all three- purgatory, heaven and hell- is happening now, on this earth. When we die, if our spirits and emotional beings simply fade, because the signals of braincells depleat- it all is such a LETDOWN. It’s like watching the BEST story- something you are so invested in- and the ending? Is shit. It stops in the middle- and you throw up your hands, as even the credits roll in blandness- you LONG for a full circle- something to make you understand. You put the movie out of your mind out of pure frustration- and there you have it: my frustration on a plate.

 Maybe I’m becoming a life-perfectionist. Someone who is so plagued by the thought of the nothingness that they fill up their life with as much passion, drama and everything in between. Certainly at this point- I’ve lived a million existances.

There’s a little girl who sleeps in the room beside me. There’s such a spark between us- I can never imagine not feeling as I do now. Certainly the pure love you feel for someone even in your moments of mom anger, or haste- will be enough to last when everything else is gone? Everyone tells us that we carry love with us- and I hope that is truly the case. I could tell you that nights like these, when everything feels so heavy, and I want so much to always keep her as I have her now, and offer her the same- is more stress than I wonder if I can handle. It all means more when you love and care for someone with such fierceness- it makes it harder to realize that one day, you’ll have to let it go.