Date: October 10, 2018 08:17PM
My father was dying, in the final stage of renal failure. Nothing could be done for him at the hospital, and he wanted to die at home. For the first few days, when he coud not keep anything down, Mother, an RN, kept him going with sugar-laden IVs. But as that failed, he slipped into a coma. This was just before Christmas. We had a tree up, and decorated.
A mean old lady - a friend of my grandma's - drove to our house. She had never liked me. She always said critical things about me, in the third person, as if I weren't there. "Is she still failing at arithmetic?" she would ask, with me in the same room.
Anyway, as Daddy lay dying, this old lady thrust a blue-covered book at me and told me that if I read it and applied it correctly, I could save my father.
It was Mary Baker Eddy's book about Christian Science. (She was a contemporary of Emerson. Now, with a university degree, I can read and appreciate Emerson. But I was only 15 when I got Eddy's book.) It was an up-hill excursion.
Desperate to save my Dad, I tried very hard to understand that book. The general gist seemed to be that if you prayed in just the right formula, God would give you what you wanted. I tried. On my knees and everything. I tried very hard to get the words right, the concepts in the proper sequence, everything. Nobody ever prayed with greater sincerity.
Dad died five days after Christmas.
I tried to tell my mother after that that I no longer believed in God, but she forced me to go to church anyway, until I left home for university.
That old lady came back for Dad's funeral. She wasted no time in pulling me aside and telling me I had not applied the principles from the book correctly.
Rather than saying something unspeakable, I just turned and stalked to my room, locked the door, and stayed there.