Tuesday was a really long day. I didn't sleep well Monday night for worrying about different things going on in my life, then that morning, I got turned down for some financial help that would have been really, well, helpful. My son's vision teacher came Tuesday as well. She is definitely what I still sometimes think might be a blessing (don't you love the convolutions we agnostics go through?). We each have our issues with the church's doctrines/cultures. She remains active, I don't. But anyway, I was discussing a dilemma I have with her, and she was sharing some of the stuff that she's dealing with now. We were both crying by the time we finished our visit (not because we were angry at each other, but because we were hurting together). So here's my dilemma and maybe later some thoughts about where I am right now spiritually.
My mom is a faithful Mormon in what most of us would consider a very traditional, by the book sense. My father is agnostic, maybe even atheistic (he's actually reluctant to define it, which is his prerogative). Growing up, my sister and I heard my mom lament his inactivity and talk about how she didn't understand why he deprived her of the blessing of a righteous priesthood holder in our home. At times, she even considered leaving my dad in order to find someone else whom she could rely on for eternity. When C (my sister, I don't know if she'd appreciate me using her name assuming she knew about my blog) and I left for college, we picked a university that was half way across the country. We still hear from our mom about how much pain it causes her that we don't live closer so that we could shop together, hang out together, etc. Fast forward to now--my mom has breast cancer.
While she was here in Idaho last, she expressed to me that she thought maybe God was giving her this cancer so that she could die and not have to live with the pain that my dad's agnosticism and our long distance gave her. On the other hand, she also believes that she has received a revelation that she will be cured. So. As it turns out, she really is responding incredibly well to treatment. It really does look like she'll be in remission very soon. My dilemma is whether to tell her about my own agnosticism. I worry that if I actually tell her, she'll give up her mostly positive attitude and let the cancer overtake her. However, I've also been blatantly lying to her when she asks how church is going etc. (it's been almost a year since I quit going). I know that that will hurt my mom immensely. Especially considering what Kathryn (my son's vision teacher) and another older friend have told me regarding their adult children keeping things like this from them. Basically what it boils down to in their opinion is that my mom already knows something is up, but just isn't willing to ask what it is. So if that's the case, we're stuck in this passive-aggressive battle just waiting for the other one to break the ice and really get things out in the open.
The other thing making this difficult is the pressure I feel to be the perfect daughter that I used to be (okay, not perfect, but definitely compliant). That's another reason I haven't said anything to her. However, it's also killing me to lie to my mom (and other assorted family members I guess). My integrity is one of my most . . . cultivated (?) values. It's killing me to lie to her. I AM NOT A LIAR. At least, not most of the time. But now I am lying and it's killing me. It's also killing me to act out a person I no longer am. I have dreams where I tell my mom the truth and it's such a huge relief. It sucks waking up and realizing that I'm still dealing with that emotional burden.
Lastly, my folks are coming this summer for about a week. In most circumstances, I would say a face to face revealing would be better, but since my dad will be gone for most of the week (he's camping with a seldom seen friend), it would be just me and my mom for the majority of her visit. I don't want to have to explain everything to her and then spend the rest of the week dealing with all our drama. I'd rather tell her before she gets here so that we can at least begin the healing process before she gets to my house. That way, my box of Earl Grey tea, my striped underwear, my tank tops, aren't going to be a shock for her. I may not partake of anything but the underwear while she's here, but still, she'll see them around and I don't want those to be a surprise to her.
Anyway, thoughts? Ideas? HELP?