My mother and I had the difficult relationship that you’d expect when a democratic-socialist, rainbow-waving, professional, feminist, priestess, witching daughter is continuously harassed by her right-wing-uber-republican, “pray away the gay,” “a woman’s place is in the kitchen,” “Pat Robertson is my hero,” “only men can be clergy,” bible-waving, evangelical mother.
I’ve also been known to say, though I admit that it is in poor taste, that our relationship greatly improved after she died. <snicker>
III: The Rapture Clause
In my post, “When the Samhain Bell Tolls for You,” I spoke on my mother’s sudden passing, and the Last Will and Testament she had so handily prepared, but I didn’t tell you the funniest part about that very legal document. Mom was sure that we were in the end times, and “judgement day” would come during her lifetime. This was during the 2000 Presidential election, and she read the book of revelations like the 7 day weather forecast. She was sure that Al Gore was the anti-Christ, and that meant she could skip the whole “old age” thing and be taken bodily to heaven. So, in her 50’s she quit work and cashed in her retirement savings so she could enjoy the “end times” doing Jesus’ work.
This gave her plenty of free time to adamantly, and persistently wage her own personal holy war to try to “save” everyone she met from the dark forces of Science, Harry Potter and the democratic party. It didn’t matter that she’d presided over no less than THREE of my baptisms in the various Christian churches in which we’d been raised. In her defense, she was devoted to keeping us together for eternity. <sigh> It’s hard to argue with a Mother’s love, no matter how misguided I thought it was.
Then, one day she called me to talk about her Last Will and Testament, as I’m the eldest of all the children. The conversation went something like this:
Mom: Hey Honey, I’m writing my will. If I die first, my estate will pass to your step-dad and he’ll be the executor to take care of all the legal things.
Me: Ok. I assumed so…
Mom: Then I thought, what if we die at the same time in a car crash or something? My brother lives here in Kentucky, so I thought that if he is still living, he’d be a good executor.
Me: Yeah, I’m sure Uncle Bill would be a really good choice.
Mom: Good. But then I got to thinking about the rapture… <profound pause>
Me: <Oh gods, here we go…>
Mom: When Jesus returns, everyone we know here will be in heaven, so in that case, would you mind being my executrix?
Me: Um…Are you suggesting that I will be “left behind?”
Mom: (In accusatory tones) WELL?!? Are YOU suggesting otherwise?
Me: <OK, Heron, the moment of truth is upon us… >
Me: No, Mom. You are absolutely right. If the four horsemen of the apocalypse come riding into town, I’m screwed and I know it. Should Revelations *literally* come to pass, I accept that I was woefully incorrect and will ride out the end times in full contrition.
Mom: Soooo, is that a ‘yes?’ I can put your name down, and you’ll make sure things get divided equally between all our kids?
Me: Sure, Mom. Sign me up. If there is still a body of jurisprudence in Kentucky that gives a good goddamn about who gets your house, I’ll be there. While the anti-christ burns down the world, me and my shotgun will defend your heap of burning rubble and make sure none of the other “godless heathens” steal your shit.
Mom: Language! There’s no need to be rude, young lady! OK, thanks. I’ll send you copy after I get it notarized.
And then it arrived, and section III – which I’ve dubbed “the rapture clause” states, “If my husband does not survive me, (If we were to die or be raptured out at the same time) I give and devise my estate of every kind to our children…”
Well! There you have it folks! Considering how quickly and painlessly she died at 59, I like to think that she got the rapture she so desired, and I’m glad for her that she enjoyed her final years. Perhaps my “heathenism*” served some small purpose in putting her mind at ease.
Until next time, Happy Halloween!
*My mother referred to all non-christians as “heathens,” meaning “godless” and not in a polite way. Not to be confused with the modern usage by Heathens who are reclaiming an ancient Nordic religion, and believe in plenty of Gods. lol