I wrote this poem purely adapted from my own relationship with faith and belief. It’s inspired by the aftermath of Auntie Luisa’s death in regards to me and my family.
Also, it’s inspired by the poem “Agnostic” (which I related to) by poet Roscoe Burems on the WAN (Writre About Now) Poetry channel on YouTube.
Auntie Luisa had a heart full of batteries. A morning of activities would leave her drained. You know, breathless. She’d be plugged into her flat throughout most of the afternoon and replenishing that energy back would take all evening.
In her last days, she had a renewed faith in God – like my mother and grandmother had their whole lives. They owe their lives to their faith and I’d often go to Church with them. Not like I had a choice.
And as Auntie Luisa lie in that closed casket, my grandmother remembers all the times she (my grandmother) has died. Good Friday laying its hands on her body like a defibrillator.
My grandmother thanks God that for the ten years more we got with Auntie Luisa. She wasn’t supposed to survive six months. She thanks her faith not the doctors. And the Luisa we had in 2016 was not the same we had in 2006.
How anatomies and personalities undergo transformation. I observe a lot – even in her spirit, despite her best efforts, I saw a different Luisa. There were a lot of changes between this modern edition and her earlier rendition. Much alike the Bible I suppose.
Healthy, smiling, joking. Not saying she didn’t smile, because she was larger than life (even in death). I grew up with her sickness and the older I got, the worse she got… at hiding it.
I think in her heart, Grandma thought her daughter would be with us forever. They were like two peas in a pod, like Christianity and Paganism. No parent should have to bury their child.
Before 2016, I was an atheist. Now I’m agnostic. I can’t choose to believe in nothing. I’ve just stop dancing outside the pigeon holes of religion.
I don’t believe in God but I believe there’s something and those higher powers are beings too big for a chapter book.
I don’t pray, I meditate. I don’t just speak, I listen. I don’t just read, I write.
I read a bunch of stuff – on history, on the history of Christianity, things I will not talk to my mother and grandmother about. They’d likely not talk to me for a long time if we entered that debate. Sometimes peace is better than winning the argument.
My grandmother says she’s praying for me. Never actually says what she’s praying for. She thinks I’m a non-believer and when I see her with the holy book I smile.
I came to think there were a million and one differences between me and Luisa. When the doctor told us she’d gone, I responded with poetry. That’s my religion. That’s my meditation. That’s my mantra.
And when I found my chi, I saw the similarities between me and her were uncanny. It was right after hearing my uncle cry about her coma and her cardiac arrest, split chest like Moses in the Red Sea, watching Scleroderma be the nail in our family.
Experiencing stuff like this made me doubt religion. Seeing my family fall from grace. But watching their two-year ascension gave me hope on this ball in vast expanse of space.
And maybe they’re blind. Maybe I’m blind. Or maybe belief is about being blind. Blind faith you know. Trusting your feelings rather than your eyes. Trusting the spirit rather than your head. Definitely not following your nose!
In Star Wars, they call it The Force. In the East, they call it chi. In Church they call it God but I call it poetry. My family found it in a book and I found it in them.
Look, I’ve learned too much about religion to follow it without question. But they have endured too much not to. My mother has my great-grandmother’s bible by her bed.
Religion is the reason why my mother and grandmother are still alive. Still with me to guide me, raise me and educate me.
One day, I will read that thing all the way through and add a chapter about them.
What I’m trying to say is I’m not an atheist. I’m agnostic. There’s times where I think I’ve seen too much suffering in the world to believe in God but I’ve watched my mothers be God too much to not believe in them.