According to Mother, “The terrestrial kingdom will be everything he always believed Heaven would be.”
I looked up to my mother then, finally understanding the depth of her suffering. She had bled from every pore, for I knew she’d believed that to let Patrick die after a suicide attempt would send his soul straight down to Hell—an unpardonable sin in the Catholic Church—and she would feel responsible, but how could any mortal be responsible for the destination of an individual’s soul, for wouldn’t that put them on par with God?
Mother would be married to David for time and all eternity; I would be sealed to them, but I found myself wishing there was a degree of lightness, a degree of separation, that would separate Mother from David. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I looked back only to see Caitlin weeping by Patrick’s bedside, Mother standing there, stoic. I knew it was just his shell in there now, and yet, it still haunted me that Mother had chosen to end his life out of convenience—just so she could marry David in the temple. Her belief in the Catholic Church had kept him alive as surely as her belief in the Mormon Church had ended his life. The temple was tainted to me now, for my father’s blood flowed from its doors.
The end of my father’s life was the beginning of my mother’s. I had loved her & loathed him, but now I was beginning to love him & loathe her. Could I love someone who was dead, or did I love only his memory? Or was it even less than that, considering I had little to no memory of him? The man in the bed had been a stranger. I had smelt him & remembered nothing. I pined not for him so much but for the potential that had once been him. He had loved me, and that was enough for me to love him back.