I was born and raised Catholic. Irish Catholic at that. I went to Catholic school from kindergarten through 10th grade, and then back for 4 years of college. So, I was taught from a young age, if you are good then you go to heaven, if you’re bad you go to hell, and sometimes, you end up in purgatory. I am not a practicing Catholic, and haven’t been for the past 6ish years. Does that mean I forget everything I was taught? No. What it does mean, is that I’m an adult who has formed my own beliefs and views on the world. Does that mean I don’t respect Catholic, or any other religion, teachings and views? NOT AT ALL. I have so much respect for anyone with a deep sense of religion. Honestly, I wish I believed in something that strongly.
When my dad passed, and still to this day, people always feel the need to say things like “Oh, don’t you worry, your dad is in heaven”, “He’s watching down you on”, “He is with your grandparents now”. I respect everyone saying that to me, and that their beliefs are their beliefs. Even if that isn’t something I necessarily believe in, it is comforting to know that someone believes that. However, I don’t appreciate when people question me and judge me when I answer honestly after being asked “You know your dad is in heaven, right?”
Because, honestly, my answer is no. I don’t believe my dad is in heaven. And that doesn’t mean my dad is in hell. If I believed in heaven, then you bet your ass I would think my dad would be there. I’ve been struggling for years to figure out what I believe in and where I stand in terms of religion and the afterlife. Losing my dad made that struggle even harder. If there is a God, why did he have to take my dad so soon? This is a question that has kept me up many nights since losing him. Yes, everyone dies. It’s the circle of life.It’s part of life. We all live, and we all die. I get that. But, why so soon? Why now? That’s where I had to dig deep and really process everything I was taught growing up Catholic and also question my current struggle of trying to figure out what I believe in.
Here is what I came up with. I don’t know if I necessarily believe in one “god”. I believe that there is definitely something greater out there. Something, someone, or even someones who have our better interest in mind and are there to help guide us. I’m kind of a believer in the “Universe”. The past few years I’ve been trying to guide my head and my heart by my belief that the Universe has my best interest in mind. My head and my heart often challenge each other, but in the end I feel that I am guided to my decision by a pull in the Universe, who knows better than I do what I really need. So far, this has been working out pretty well for me. Yes, life is fucking hard. Yes, there are so many ways it could be better. But, overall, it’s helped me blossom into the cynical, caring, foul-mouthed, funny girl some of you have come to know and love over the years.
So, dad. Where the hell (LOL, get it…. trying to be punny here) is he? Do I think he’s somewhere in a barcalounger with a case of Miller Lite watching the Phillies try to make a comeback and ecstatic that Charlie is back? Sure. I believe that he is somewhere in space and time doing what he loved. That’s the part of my heaven education I keep with me. Do I believe he’s in the sky above the clouds dressed in white? No. Not at all. First of all, he would hate to be dressed in all white. He would spill his beer and drip his food all over it. Do I believe he’s looking down on me? Not exactly. Again, this goes back to the fact that I don’t think he’s above in the clouds. I do believe that he’s with me. After a long couple months, I’m accepting that from his love, he is in me. That I carry on pieces of his legacy, his memory, and his passion in my daily life. I talk to him as if he’s here. I ask for advice. I yell at him for being gone. So, yes. He’s with me. He’s around. I’m still trying to figure out if I think I see him in physical signs in the world, so I’ll get back to you on that. This next sentence could be contradictory, but, whatever I can believe what I want and need to. I do believe he is a guardian “angel” of sorts and is somehow looking out and protecting us.
So, no. I don’t believe my dad is in heaven. I don’t know where he is or what he is. I believe he led an amazing life and left an incredible impact on the world around him and that he will live on in the lives of the people he touched.
I ask that you respect my beliefs as much as I respect yours. I’d love to hear what you believe in, regarding afterlife and in general. Leave a comment, or message me. Let’s grab coffee or a beer and learn from each other.
Please feel free to browse through my blog for other posts, or check out some articles I have written for Thought Catalog here.