With my eyes closed I say, "I saw my mother yesterday in church."
"Your mother is dead," she says flatly.
To this plain fact, I have no response.
Hardly veiling her sheer bewilderment and frustration with me she says, "I thought you were Catholic. How exactly do you reconcile being Catholic and believing in spirits?"
I do not hide my frustration when I say back to her without hesitation, "As usual, no reconciliation necessary. I do not see what they have to do with each other in the least."
My ancient priest has just said in his Irish lilt, "And now let us sit for a little silent prayer." It is at this time in church when I can intensely feel your presence. I usually feel you in church, although I am not sure why. Is it because you loved church? Is it because I am somehow conjuring up your spirit in church? Is it because you cannot resist the calm and quiet? I will hear a song that you loved and I will feel you embracing me. And then later I will close my eyes. And there you are.
I do not know if it's because I happened to sit behind a woman with precisely your color hair. I notice this immediately. Her hair is a slate gray with specks of white in it and it is unwaveringly straight in the back. I know it is not you because her head is too small and shaped differently, but I can almost hear you getting a cut similar to hers and then later saying, "Well, I really don't like the way he cut it, but..................."
I am kneeling in the pew with my hands folded and when I close my eyes to sink into my Silent Prayer, I can immediately see your face on the black that is the inside of my eyelid. I sit quietly trying not to make any movement, not wanting to leave this place where I am. Effortlessly my brain is emptied. As far as I can recall, I have no thought. My whole body is consumed, but I can still hear. I hear, "The body of Christ." I hear this over and over until I can't really hear the individual words anymore. It feels like the moment before you burst into uncontrollable crying. When your eyes well up with tears more powerful than a tidal wave. And your nasal cavity fills with salt. And you know that in a moment you will be overtaken with heaves of sobbing. It feels like that. But it is not that. Because I am so vividly rocked I have to open my eyes. And incredibly there are no tears. Amazingly my eyes are dry. My nasal cavity is clear. I am not shaking. I look around concerned that someone has seen what has happened to me and this person is staring at me. But, no one is. Everyone is quietly milling about. The priest is staring into the congregation. You are gone. That quick.
"You know that what you are saying is not possible, don't you?" she says to me slightly condescendingly.
"Yes. I know."