Friday, October 31, 2008

Discovering an atheist

My aunt Pat is a crusty old battlewagon. She's in her 90s and in declining health. She's recently moved from a senior living facility to a rest home where she can receive constant medical supervision. I don't know how long she has left. She is nearing the end of her story. She is the last of her generation and knows the end is near. It could be months, or it could be years. Her days have number. The number is short.

She is my great aunt. The dark sister of my deceased grandmother. I say dark because for everything my grandmother did right, aunt Pat did wrong. As I child I knew her to be an alcoholic chain smoking floozy who was as unreliable as they come. As she aged I spent less time with her. I occasionally spent a family holiday with her, but little else. I've seen her maybe five times in ten years. It is my fault. I've been partially estranged from my family for almost 30 years.

I spoke with my mother this morning. She and my sister had visited aunt Pat at her rest home. In the course of the visit, Pat asked about my sister's relationship with me. My sister said that it was all good except for that I was an atheist and she was not. I guess my aunt dropped an unexpected bombshell with her next comment.  She said she was an atheist too. She went on to say that we are all the result of an evolutionary process. I am so proud.

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