Prayer didn't work

(Via Csaba)

My mother was a caring parent. Hard-working and always ready to kiss the forehead of any of her two sons if he made a mistake and say "It's okay, Mom loves you no matter what".

She had breast cancer once and somehow made it through, when I was a small kid, with support from my father. Then, after a few years, it appeared again and this time, she knew she couldn't survive the chemotherapy. She cried in front of me because she knew she was going to die. I prayed and I prayed and she still died bereft of her dignity because she was a completely different (eventually half-) person by the time the cancer had spread to her brain. She died weighing 90 lbs. (40 kg) at 5' 8'' (172 cm), almost having no hair at age 41. Our prayer didn't work.

My father supported my mother as much as he could and although he eventually became an incurable alcoholic, he never laid his hand on any of us. He also smoked, liked Chuck Norris movies and was very proud of the last batch of red/white wine mix he home-made from the grapes growing in our yard. His work was hard, he changed jobs a few times in his last 5 years.

Three factors finally did him in: smoking (stiff blood vessels), red wine (high blood pressure) and his change of jobs, from fixing refrigerators for 25 years to carrying 120 lb. (55 kg) air conditioning units up some stairs, 3-4 stories, which was too much for his 48-year-old heart. I called him on his birthday and wished him "May God give you a long life!" as it is customary around here. He died about 36 hours later, having had a heart attack (myocardial infarct) during the night. All those times I prayed for the well-being of my family didn't count.

The priest said the same old lines at their funerals, about eternal life etc. but I believed less and less and now, having read "God Is Not Great" by Christopher Hitchens, my puzzle is coming together rather coherently and God is not in it.

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