Whittier Cemetery had become our temple, where we talked to the dead rather than baptized them—where we paid penance for sins unknown.
I had spent more hours in a cemetery than most had their entire lives—not to find comfort or closure, but to pay tribute to a marble idol.
On Sundays, while Christians fellowshipped in dialogue amongst the living, we spent our time among the dead, speaking to them in monologue.
I often wondered if the neighbors ever looked out their windows & talked about “the Nolan women” attending Cemetery as one would Church.
“You had Mother first, Patrick. Let David have her last,” I prayed to my father, who, according to the elders, was awaiting baptism by proxy.
Perhaps it was because Caitlin had never laid eyes on our father that he could be as wonderful in her mind as she could possibly imagine.
My father, who lay below the earth, was as much a stranger to me as the Father who lived above it.
Walking amongst the dead, holding my rose in front of me like a candle, I thought how ritualistic—how almost cult-like—it all seemed.
Mother walked beside the vines that crawled up the back fence of the cemetery—the berries like the pomegranate seeds of the underworld.
“I felt what they were saying was good, but I don’t believe the good feeling was you there with me because it was something inside I felt.”