Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Apologizing to God

Hello, God. I didn't make it to church this morning because I couldn't sleep last night. It's Mother's Day and when I finally did roll out of bed, I read the emails that told me that my mom is having what is the worst Mother's Day of her life.

As you know, since you know everything, my dad has entered a new phase today. He was agitated all night and kept asking fearful, and even angry, questions. Suddenly, he thinks I am 4 years old, and that he needs to go find me. When Mom tells him "Candy isn't 4. She's 48," he says "God dammit, I'm talking about OUR Candy." When he wants to know where I am, and Mom tells him I'm in Phoenix, he says "How can she be in Phoenix? She's only FOUR!"

He also wants to know what has happened to his farm and all his tractors. When Mom tells him we sold all that, he wants to know "How can I make a living now?" Don't worry, she tells him. You're retired. We're fine.

And the biggest heartbreak of all: He thinks she is lying to him, and says "The next thing you'll tell me is that you're my wife." Yes, she says. I have been your wife for 66 years.

And then Dad thinks he's figured it out: He's been in the hospital all these years and has missed everything.

So, God. I am trying not to despise you. I know I shouldn't be thinking like this. I know I'm supposed to love you and trust you. I get it. I get the rules. I'm hoping that if you're the source of all love, as I've been told, and the God of Mercy, as I've been told, that you'll accept how very sickeningly angry I am at you.

I've heard it before: God can take it. He can take your anger. He's GOD! He MADE your emotions. He knows how you feel whether you tell him or not.

But you scare me. The way you just let things happens terrifies me.

You know that my big problem with you, and that the big problem MANY people have with you, is that you let so much suffering float by on the big river of misery that ends up rising from its banks and drowning us all anyway. I know, I know. It's our original sin. It's our free will causing the shit to hit the fan.

I heard a very smart man say "Those who believe in God only have to explain suffering. Atheists have to explain everything else." Nice quip. Very useless at the moment.

Here is my apology:

I'm sorry, God, that, for awhile now, I've felt like you are the King and I'm a sniveling, sycophant of a court jester who is at your needling mercy. And that I have to keep thanking you for things all the time, even as things get worse. Like you're saying "You're thanking me, aren't you? You have to thank me. Did you thank me? I don't think I heard you. Oh, OK, I heard you thank me, but I'm throwing this javelin through your mother anyway."

I'm sorry that my sincere prayers of gratitude are always laced with fear and resentment.

I'm sorry that I didn't cherish the better days with my dad. I'm sorry for the anger I've felt for not having been of more interest to him, back when he had things he was interested in.

I'm sorry for making this about how I feel, when it's about what my dad and mom are going through.

I'm afraid you'll respond to this apology, and I'm afraid you won't.

Either way, I'm sorry that I've accidentally locked the rickety door on my heart. I'll keep checking outside for a note.

Please be with my dad. Please soothe him. Please put your arm around my mother.

I'm sorry for asking, when I've just written my own name on your shit list.


  • At 7:07 PM, Blogger Steve B said…

    God has a shit list? Why are we always so afraid that God is going to make us pay, give us the silent treatment, make us sleep on the couch because we forgot His anniversary?

    Kind makes God sound quite a bit more like US, than, well, God. Not saying I haven't done much the same thing, many times, just saying, is all.

    Nowhere in the Bible does God promise that we won't face trials. Actually sort of guarantees it, several times. What it promises is that He'll be there with us through it.

    What we often seem to miss is that His word doesn't promise an end to pain in this life, but the next.

    Doesn't make it any easier, though, does it?

    When a teenager screams "I hate you!" and slams the door because you wouldn't let her go to the concert, does she go on your "shit list?" Or, if we're good parents, even though we feel the pain in our hearts, we understand that it's a phase? Do we ride it out, because we see things and understand things she doesn't? Our reactions, our rules, our ways of doing business seem totally incomprehensible to her, causing hurt and anger and sorrow.

    But we don't stop loving her. We don't return like for like.

    In my family, there was only one person allowed to get angry. My dad, or my mom if he was gone. Kids could not express their anger, hurt, or frustration. It was very disfunctional and damaging.

    God is not disfunctional. He made us with this capacity for intense emotions. I assume that he knew ahead of time that it wouldn't all be roses and hugs.

  • At 7:27 PM, Blogger Ecrue said…

    Sounds kind of like one of those greek gods of yore. Cross 'em, and they curse you to be able to see the future, or sail a damned ship for eternity or get reincarnated as a toadstool.

    one false move and it's lightening bolts for you, pal!

    **POW** {{zzzzzztt!}}

    If G/god never let anybody die, it'd sure be crowded around here.

    Don't mean to make light of your situation. It sucks, plain and simple. Lost my dad eight years ago. He had heart problems, but kept his wits. I wasn't there when he died. hadn't seen him for six months in fact. Not sure which sucks worse. What you've got going on, or not being able to say goodbye.

    Doubt very much, though, that your God is using your dad's alzheimers to beat you over the head or teach you some kind of lesson.

    Shit just gets broke sometimes.

  • At 7:27 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    I know, deep inside, that God doesn't put people on a shit list for being angry with him. I wasn't in my best state of mind when I wrote the post. It was the first post I've ever written purely to keep from coming unglued.

    I do know that there has been a monumental amount of grace in my dad's life. He lived through terrible experiences in WWII, has had a great life, and been with the love of his life for almost 7 decades.

    Thanks for pointing out things I'm losing sight of, Steve. I'm a spiritual pygmie sometimes, and way more often than I'd like.

  • At 7:33 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Ecrue, I know the Alzheimers isn't about me getting hit with a ball bat. It just IS. Which is perhaps what makes it so hideous.

    I'm sorry you didn't get to say goodbye to your dad. That does truly suck.

    Methinks I may have already been turned into a toadstool. :) I've gotten so used to panic mode over my parents, that when a new development shows up, I'm done in as soon as the starting gun shoots.

    I need to buck up. Seriously.

    Hey, nice lightning bolt sound effect, by the way.

  • At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You know me, Candy, always uncertain about my faith and what it means and if I have it ... but in the moments when i do believe, it's when I think about how very, very, very real our human imperfection is and imagine the idea of a God who loves us as we are... not the original sin stuff where God loves us anyway despite our enormous failing, but the idea that there is a Being out there who actually created humans in all their flaws ... who made us know that our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness ... and makes our greatest joys possible even in the midst of our greatest sorrows ... who had space in an infinite mind and infinite love to risk everything for the sake of that joy ...

    which i guess is my sappy and long-winded way of saying that i figure that the moment when we think we've gone and put ourselves at the top of God's shit list is likely the moment when we are *least* on God's shit list...

  • At 12:47 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    That wasn't sappy. At all.
    I'm thinking a lot about the mix of joy and sorrow. And how mingled they are.

    And also about my own guilt over not being able to perform superhuman stunts, like bringing health to my parents, etc.

    I met a woman in the airport a couple months ago, and as women do, we talked about very personal stuff during a 15 minute wait for our baggage. She had already gone through the agony of losing her parents, years ago, and the "why can't I do something?" part. She said her doctor told her something that helped: "You cannot make your parents happy, and you cannot make them well." And as cold and matter-of-fact as that sounds, it gives me some perspective.

    And now I'm rambling. Because my brain is doing full catastrophe swerves.

  • At 5:00 AM, Blogger JBelle said…

    Unlock the door, Candy. Get the door wide open. You must lean into this pain and let it overwhelm you. Else you'll never be able to remember fore sure if all this was real.

    It is. It's the other part of spectrum of life we just don't like to operate in. And God . For now.

  • At 5:01 AM, Blogger JBelle said…

    Should read:

    And God cries for you on this day, as I do. Don't give up,Sweet Friend, but give in. Let it have you. For now.

  • At 6:24 AM, Blogger EB said…

    I'm so, so sorry, Candy.

  • At 7:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sometimes it's okay to come unglued. In fact, sometimes when we suck it up to avoid coming unglued, we're only holding the inevitable at arms length. For me, anyway, that only makes it worse when I finally do lose it.

  • At 7:40 AM, Blogger Dana said…

    I wish I could say something, anything, that would sound wise and spiritual and comforting. But I can't, I won't even try.
    All I can say is I'm sorry you are going through this and I truly understand.

  • At 8:31 AM, Blogger mgm said…

    Candy, I love you and wish I could give you a big hug right now.

    I'm with c . . .. Even though I change my mind from day to day about what faith and spirituality means, I do know that if there's something out there, it's not something vengeful and mean. In fact, if I could go so far to commit to a belief in something, it's that that being can be found (to some degree) in the people around you who clearly love you and don't want you to feel alone at this moment in your life.

    For me, that being is an intangible, something we cannot completely understand or define, but I do know that when we share love and try to understand the pain that people around us feel, we are experiencing something divine.

    Candy, you be angry. Indulge yourself in it for awhile. You have every right. Eventually, you'll find the anger subside. But know that the little bit of divine in me is grieving for you.

    (Crap, now I'm tearing up. I miss you and am sending you all my love.)

  • At 8:35 AM, Blogger mgm said…

    Oh, and I also wanted to say that I don't think you feel sorry for being angry. If you were created by something bigger than us, you were given your emotional capacity for a reason. What you're feeling is an honest, human emotion and to suppress it would do you no good. G/god, in his/her infinte wisdom, created that emotion and knows the consequences of those emotions. They are yours and it's okay to own them.

  • At 9:31 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Candy--I sure don't have anything useful to add, since I get mad at God on a regular basis, too (for all the good it does me). And I can't recommend prayer or faith or anything--sometimes all you get is silence, and no, I haven't figured out how to be cool with that.

    I loved my dad dearly. He died at 66, of a stroke, long before he could ever get Alzheimer's. I couldn't imagine going through your pain now. All I can say is go gently on yourself--and your dad. But you knew that already.

  • At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I already wrote a lot in that e-mail, and I can't add to what everyone here said. But I just want you to know that I have been thinking of you and praying for you. And I do think that allowing yourself to fully feel everything you feel now is much better than trying to stuff it down and tell yourself that you don't have any right to be angry and you need to count your blessings and all of that stuff. Because no matter how far down you stuff these feelings, they'll be with you until you do let them out. They won't go away. And then they can start to resurface during other times in your life and you won't really even understand why you're feeling what you're feeling when that happens, which will make you feel confused/angry/depressed.

    I'm in total agreement with Steve. He wrote a lot of what I was going to write when I came here this morning. But he wrote it a lot better than I could. Sounds like his family was just like mine--the not being allowed to express your feelings thing. And that's how I know that if you don't do it when it's going on, it can really mess up your head and cause even more problems.

    So go ahead and feel what you're feeling. Explode when you need to, and retreat when you need to. Sure, you'll sometimes look back and think that your rational mind knew that maybe how you acted at those moments was less than rational, but maybe because you had the outburst or hid away for a while, that caused you to regain your rational mind again, even if it is only for a while before the next episode. You'll eventually work your way through it, even though it probably doesn't feel like you will. And, maybe the whole idea that one day you will be through all of this is just as frightening as going through it. If that makes sense.

    I'm sorry. I'm just rambling. There is so much I want to say, but I don't know how to put into words. And then I feel at a loss for words because I know that nothing I say can really help, or, I am afraid it might all be totally the wrong thing to say.

    I probably should just erase this, but writing something and letting you know that I love you and I'm sorry and I wish there was something I could do to help is probably better than not writing anything at all.

    And I'm sorry for the terrible grammar.

  • At 12:04 PM, Blogger Jerry said…

    Nothing anyone says will help; the bottom line is--this is life. Control is an illusion.

    It's your time to suffer. Watching a loved one die, when we can do nothing, reminds us that nature has no compassion--it just is.

    From my perspective (I know we differ on this), there is no one to blame for the good time and no one to blame for the bad.

    You look for comfort; there is none. You can help your mom, and that will help you. There is no comfort. You face this hardness and wail and cry and feel like your insides have turned on you and are killing you from the inside out.

    I went through something like this and tried to find something good in it. There isn't. All I can say is I'm sorry that you are going through it.

    Probably the one thing that came out of it for me was that I could empathize with others who are going through this unique form of pain--the sickness and passing of a parent. It as close to personal hell as anyone needs to get.

  • At 12:54 PM, Blogger Norma said…

    I'm sorry you're going through this.
    Even though my mom was sickly her whole life, when she died it was so sudden. I can't imagine what you're going through. Just know I'm sending you lots of love

  • At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    While Jerry says that nothing good can come out of such a situation, I think that what he said afterward is something good: the ability to empathize with others who are going through it.

    That is an incredible gift.

    Candy, you know about a particular event in my life that was a bit of hell, and I can truly say that I am grateful that I now have a better understanding for others going through it, on both sides of the coin. And while it is a different situation than what you're experiencing now, I think that it is one small positive that can be gained from this whole nightmare.

    I think for anyone, when one is going through something awful, it is often a comfort to find someone who is going through, or has been through, the same situation. And to be one that can give that kind of comfort to someone else can be a reward.

    I know that you comforted me by your understanding in another time in my life, and I want you to know how much I appreciate that. It is so good that I can talk to you and you "get it."

    Of course, in this situation, I know that you'd do anything to not have your dad suffer from Alzheimer's, and nothing that comes out of this will make that suffering worthwhile. But the ability to be there for someone else can still be one thing that helps you heal from this experience.

    Hope I said all that right.

  • At 6:57 PM, Blogger Citlali said…

    I love that you write exactly how you feel, so bold and honest down to the quick. My feelings toward God have been similarly angry in the past, for very different reasons and always accompanied by guilt. It sounds right to be able to tell Him, even if He already knows. For me there's always seemed to be a lot of contradictory ideas about how one can or should speak to or even feel about God. I'm with that idea that you mentioned. It makes sense that He would be able to handle the emotions that arise from living in this world filled with people He created that are, after all, created after HIS own image. Why wouldn't He? After all He DOES let it all happen. The WORST things. I've got some other ideas about all this that we can discuss sometime. It's all so tragically interesting to really examine the "holes" in popular spiritual thinking. You know?

    I say let Him have it.

    You and yours are in my thoughts. many hugs. = ]

  • At 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So many of us have had to watch our loved ones suffer from Alzheimers. It's such an undignified end, such a heartbreaking thing to witness. You're in my prayers, Candy.

  • At 1:26 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    I'm overwhelmed at all this support. It's held me together. Thank you each for being so straightforward and so very real about this whole subject. And so loving.

    I have more to say and can't keep my eyes open at the moment. But you've put my legs back under me and I can keep moving awhile longer because of it. Even in my lame-ass spiritual pygmie-ness.

  • At 1:41 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    JBelle, I've unlocked the rickety door and stuck a shoe in it so it won't slam shut again. Thanks for the idea.

    EB, I know you've already been through this. Especially the far from home part.

  • At 1:44 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Dana, just having you here is helping.

    Mad Grad,
    Love this sentence:
    "What you're feeling is an honest, human emotion and to suppress it would do you no good."
    It sounds like Mr. Spock a little. And it's so true that I almost overlooked it. I did have some idea that I could suppress all this. Yeah. Not so much.

  • At 1:45 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Mel, I haven't figured out how to be cool with silence either. And sometimes I'm afraid that there ISN'T any's just my bad receiver.

  • At 1:47 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Futuresis, all I have to say to you is that I'm wildly happy that we married brothers. Even though they were mail-order bride marriages, they turned out OK, right?
    Also, are you ever allowed to leave the compound?

  • At 1:48 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Norma, why didn't we ever hang out before I left town? Could it be because we were both working about 80 hours a week?

  • At 1:51 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Citlali, thanks for giving the thumbs up on my squirmy confessional writing. Sometimes I come back and read what I've written and think "Damn, could I slice myself open a little more?"

    But I can't write any other way.

    You said a mouthful here:

    "I say let Him have it."

    Nice double meaning.

  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jerry, being able to empathize is a powerful thing. Knowing other people who have gone through this parent this, even recently, like you, is helping me build a raft to keep from sleeping with the fishes.

  • At 1:54 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jackie O., the undignified part is the toughest. And trying to keep intact the dignity they still have.

  • At 8:18 PM, Blogger Tony from the Bronx said…

    Candy--you write beautifully about a very painful subject. I just read a short book by a guy named Shalom Auslander--it's called "Beware of God." Written from a Jewish perspective, it addresses the questions you ask so well. It’s very funny—but in a dark, bleak, angry way. He too asks the Big Man a lot of difficult questions. If you run across it, take a glance. Meanwhile, in a Woody Allen story, he says something like “if God exists, he’s got some explaining to do.”

  • At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dearest Sister Candy,

    I am no longer permitted outside of the compound, I am afraid. I was foolish enough to think that I could operate the remote control to the TV, and now I must learn my place.

    I should be grateful for the luxuries I have here. Back home, we did not have things such as walls and electricity. Here, there are many walls, and the entire fence is just *filled* with electricity! It is like magic!

    Papa and Mama are very proud and brag about my good fortune to everyone else in the village. They all laughed and said I would never find a mate. Dreams do come true! Who is laughing now? Me, that's who!

    We are lucky girls, aren't we? I hope to see you again one day. I will never touch the remote control again, in hopes that I may earn a visit to see you.

    Until then, we can keep in touch this way. Oh no! Here he comes! I must say

  • At 9:23 PM, Blogger Lisa Dunick said…

    Oh Candy- I can't even imagine what you and your mother are going through now. But as much as it is about your mother and father, it really is about you too. You're his daughter, their daughter, and to not grieve and rage over such a horrifically absurd situation. But all my heart and prayers (whatever good they may be) go out to you and your family.

  • At 12:11 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Tony, I'll look for it. I never miss a day on Amazon.

    Futuresis, I've BEGGED to you BE QUIET AND SUBMIT! Heh.

  • At 12:12 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Thank you, LD. It really is absurd.

  • At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sister Candy,

    I know you have, and I try so hard. I must take lessons from you.

    Oh my gosh....I must stop making myself laugh like hurts....gasp....wiping the tears away from my eyes....I'm about to fall out of my chair.

    Uh-oh. Here he comes. I have not earned back my privilege to laugh yet.

  • At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well I've been going to a church which is a little bit evangelical but doesn't hate democrats or gays. In other words it sticks pretty close to the Bible or in trying to interpret. We've been encouraged to look for the Holy Spirit in our lives in situations. To tell the truth Alzheimers is something I don't understand the reason for, just like Schizophrenia or other mental disorders, and I'm certainly not advocating the experience for anyone, least of all my family, but I have to say if your dad's love and worry for you when you were 4 transcends time and space, it must have been pretty profound.

  • At 7:48 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Hi Nonclutter...

    That last sentence stunned me into tears. I've never thought of it that way. And I'll never forget that you said that. Thank you.

  • At 12:25 AM, Blogger ~:*:*:Sparrow:*:*:~ said…

    Lo Siento.

    Have you spoken with / heard from / discussed this at all with Rob B.?

    Just askin', because ... just because.



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