A Place for Me in the Kingdom of Heaven

I suspect not.

My time with mom, no matter how brief (or how long), is a time for me to think about my role as her daughter — successes, failures, unmitigated disasters and the like. This past Sunday, as she yelled at the two women in the pew to move because she is Margarita Ritchie and this is HER pew (move bitches — she did not say that, I inserted that for effect) and threw someone’s purse so she could place her purse down — it’s how us Latina Queens mark our territory and secure our seat in overly crowded church — I felt guilty. Not about the two women.

Please, you better move when my mom comes barreling into the house of our Lord and Savior.

Just kidding. Not really. Please move. You will make my life easier, so fucking move. Now. Or I will devein you in front of the manger. No, I jest. OK. Not really. Move please.

I think about if my role in trying to make her life semi-better…. and the words an old Spanish woman uttered many months ago…… God will reward you with a place in heaven.

God will reward me.

ME? A spot in the kingdom of heaven?

Will it be on his left or right-hand side?

And for what, might I ask? For placing my mom in a nursing home on Mother’s Day?

For walking away from her ever single morning as she screamed and cried for me to take her home?

For that one time…………that one strangely lucid moment when she looked at me through her tears and said, YOU DID THIS TO ME. WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?

For telling her no every single time she wants to buy birdseed?

For not being able to clip her toe nails because, in truth, it grosses ME out.

For not moving home sooner?

For not taking her to Banner Alzheimer’s sooner?

For prolonging my dad’s suffering and leaving him alone with her? Willingly (sometimes eagerly) boarding that flight back to New York, knowing he would not be able to cope………….. the act of a good Catholic girl, no doubt.

For making my former love suffer? Nothing like shacking up with a grotesquely, tragic girl

For making all of my friends suffer along with me? Nothing like making them hear the same story over a dozen times (in a single week).

For hating my mother more than loving her?

For sometimes resenting both my parents never cutting the cord?

A confession: Not even I can sever the rotting cord.

I can’t always say no to my dad and yes, I give my mom dollar bills here and there because they make her happy. She loves money. Boundaries? Ha. The curse of the only child.

My most reckless act, going to Vietnam, caused me so much anxiety becuase……… if something actually happened to me……………………………. they wouldn’t be able to cope without me.

He would be destroyed.

She would never understand.

And I fear a place in heaven will keep me by mother’s side FOREVER — because her ticket is booked. She is destined for heaven….. and if she isn’t, then there really is no God.

ETERNITY with my mom.

Still, I can’t help but laugh at the idea of God surrounded by the demented…………… imagine my mom spitting in heaven. Classic. Better get out your wipes God… and read my one blog about your demented Must Haves.

So, my place in heaven. I don’t know what this woman sees. Her vision is narrow because I’m no saint. I’m a realist and very much into self-preservation. I question the very existence of God. If there is a God, I don’t believe he is of the loving/kind variety — I think he or she is sick. Demented.

I have fallen asleep in church — more than once. How many Hail Mary’s is that one worth?

Talk about a view askew.

>>Flickr photo by Darwin Bell


  1. Thank you for writing this blog. I just recently started reading, and they’re just dead on. My 80yr old mother was officially diagnosed 2 days before Christmas, although it’s been going on for years. Family infighting stopped her from seeing a doctor, and now we’ve lost time that maybe could have been slowed. I’ve got my own demons as the youngest of 8 children; being an only child sucks, but it’s amazing how much having a large group to deal with sucks as well. We can’t get anything accomplished. Anyhow, today’s my 38th birthday, and this post just took my breath away, especially the first line, because that is all I can think about today. Thank you for getting it all out there.

  2. It is said, in some places in time, that we are all where we are supposed to be; that the world around us gives us what we need to grow, learn, evolve. Each experience, setting, emotion, relationship…is a situation that advances us to our place. An individual journey.

    Too often the vision of this is veiled by the human condition. A condition that can blind us, take for granted what we have been given, and long for what has not been provided. Available is what we need, not always what we think we seek.

    Patience. Patience is this journey. Patience is evolution. Fear can be driven by the desire for instant gratification, and the reality of not receiving it.

    Instant Gratification. Instant gratification is a step, hurdle overcome quickly. Good bad or indifferent.

    The earth as a whole changes slowly. Very slowly…Patience
    However there are instances where it changes in a second…Instant Gratification

    Both work in tandem to make the world around us what it is. Change is guaranteed.

    Patience…the condition will evolve.
    Instant Gratification…when the time is right, it will be over very quickly.

    These will work in tandem, and ultimately give each of us what we truly need.

    God may be an ideal. A common denominator to explain what is not yet understood…to justify Instant Gratification, and support through Patience.

  3. I discovered today that my mother believes that I am the evil twin. She has been suffering from dementia from some years, a decline so gradual that she railed against it the whole way, leaving me (the only child) to suffer the responsibility alone (oh, how I resented dealing with the continual complaining, the diminishing hygiene, the increasing drinking – had she had one drink that day or 20?).

    It was only after a bad fall in 2008 that she was admitted to hospital and consented (probably at least 5 years after she needed it) to go into a care home after years of bitter resistance. Well, guess what…she bloody well loved it! As the dutiful daughter I bring her to stay with us a couple of times a year. She has been here for one week on this current visit and can’t remember my husband’s name (fair enough, I struggle myself sometimes) or my name but today she was ranting about how kind I was compared to her ungrateful daughter Paula, who never calls. Well, even I must admit I was gobsmacked.
    I did wonder why she was being so nice to me, as she has rarely been anything other than hypercritical but have realised that she must see me as a benevolent stranger! This evening she called my 13 year old “a nice man”.

    Am I being a mug for the constant guilt when she is in her care home when she obviously thinks I’m someone else? Is it better or worse when you’ve had a great relationship with a parent?

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