I didn't go to my mom's 40th night mass. It had nothing to do with whether I love mom more or less. It had everything to do with what I believe in. In our faith, we don't pray for the dead. We figure, what for? She is in heaven already. We don't believe in purgatory because the only incident in the Bible that referred to praying for the dead is in the apocrypha, which is not part of the Biblical canon. But I don't judge those who do pray for the dead. God knows all of us and what's in our hearts. That's what's most impoprtant.
It's just that I'd heard many people in my wonderful family (relatives, etc) have been noting I wasn't at mom's 40th day mass, and I owe them all an explanation, because they are all so very, very, very important to me.
When mama died, I told myself, "that's just the body, mom's spirit is flying around us and she's happy". I was thankful for the loving way the nurses and maids cleaned her, as though her body still had life. They dressed her and there was so much caring I'm sure mom could see how much she was loved by everyone who had come to know her and care for her.
When mama's coffin went down the ground, I looked around the grounds, because I knew that she wasn't in that box, she was walking around and watching us all. I wondered where she was at that point in time.
When mama was sick I wanted to die. I couldn't believe that life could be so cruel, there didn't seem to be any reason to live. But when I read 2 books, one was "90 minutes in heaven" and the other "diamonds in the dust" by Joni Tada Earickson, I realized how wonderful heaven is and I knew mama was going to a better place.
I can't possibly want to live if I didn't know about heaven. What would there be to life for, to look forward to afterwards? This is a journey we are going through here, sometimes it's hard and sometimes it gets easier, then hard again.
But heaven provides so much hope for so many people. For Joni, who is disabled from the neck down, heaven becomes so much more real to her. She became disabled when she was 17, and she is about 53 years old now and is married. And heaven has kept her going.
So no, I wasn't at Mama's 40th day prayer. But she knows that every day since she has died, in my heart I have been telling her, "Congratulations!!!!!!!"
That's why I didn't go.