Sunday with mom at church. Started out well. She was pretty mellow. I was pretty pleased. A few glitches in our demented matrix, but nothing unexpected—mom was yelling at the family sitting in “our” pew. Then she started rambling on about how she should be allowed to serve Communion. Mom starts stalking key members of the congregation, so she can ask them to “help her” get back on the Communion list. Sweet thing. She has lost so many words and is always asking them to let her be on the “fruit” to serve “fruit.”
Subject change…….. Padre Andres. Yes. Her beloved “husband/boyfriend/priest”
She is obsessed with inviting the priest over for dinner. She harps on it. She never lets it go. Every Sunday, “Padre Andres, cuando vienes a comer con nosotros?” This Sunday is no exception…………….. Mom goes into a long thing about how she is going to invite Padre Andres over for dinner. How her husband said to tell Padre Andres hello. How she has pictures from the last time Padre Andres came over to dinner (she has three in a row at the house. Same picture: Her and the priest holding a dish of payaya.).
An hour passes. We go early to secure our seats.
Mass FINALLY starts.
Sweet. Substitute priest…. for me, this is good news. Shorter service. For mom, this is bad. Her boyfriend is out and she gets bent out of shape. She loves him. “Mi esposo! Mi esposo!” Never mind the 38 year age gap. He is kind about it all.
Father Lloyd. This old priest comes walking down the aisle. Mom sees him. Mom starts screaming for Padre Andres. I think she’s going to cry. Or she’s faking it. Or she wants to cry but can’t. Or she’s just so upset. Her face is filled with anguish. Strange. I hold her.
The Mass begins.
OK. So far so good. Sweet. I have to pee. I’ve had to pee for over an hour.
I go pee.
I tweet from the bathroom stall.
I return to my sit and listen to the priest struggle through some sermon in Spanish—not his native language, nor his second or third or fourth language by all accounts.
Mom turns and her friend at the piano waves. She starts smiling and talking loudly about how he saw her…. I try to shoosh her. She goes on and then……… loudly, with the mic on:
Says a cross priest. Everyone stares. I glare at him. She is still talking.
Later, he comes over to our pew to apologize. I am not feeling kind. I tell him she has dementia and can’t help it. That he should be understanding of her disease, and she requires compassion. He smiles, laughs awkwardly and returns to the safety of his judgmental alter. Pussy. Jerk. Douche. Good. Go back to your God and tell him to do something useful like answer her prayers. Oh wait, you’re busing regurgitating bullshit that has been altered repeatedly by men…….. how about implementing what you say into your daily life? Hallowed be thy name? Thy will be done? Forgive me?
ANGER. TAKE A STEP BACK.
Here’s the thing. What bugged me most about this incident wasn’t so much his comment, but 2 things: a) she can’t defend herself, thus inspiring my urge to beat the priest with his challis and b) it serves as a reminder of her disease and what she has become as a result of it……. sick, demented, random, grotesque………………
I start to cry.
She has no idea what has happened.
I cry for her. For the fact that she can’t protect herself. For myself. For my dad. For the fact that this will never end.