6. What If It's True?
One day, as I was Cometing out my bathtub, I thought, "What if it's true?"
"What if humans are here because of pure random chance? What if there is no guiding hand, no external regulation, no one watching? It is clearly possible that this may be true. In fact this is what our scientific evidence is pointing towards. But if it were true, what would that mean?"
I had spent so much time thinking about what God meant, that I hadn't really spent any time thinking about what not- od meant. A few days later, as I was walking from my office in my backyard into my house, I realized there was this little teeny-weenie voice whispering in my head. I'm not sure how long it had been there, but it suddenly got just one decibel louder. It whispered, "There is no God."
And I tried to ignore it. But it got a teeny bit louder. "There is no God. There is no God. Oh my God, there is no God!"
I sat down in my backyard under my barren apricot tree. (I didn't know trees were like people, they stop reproducing after they get old. Maybe that barren fig tree that Jesus condemned to death was just menopausal.) Anyway, I sat down and thought, "Okay. I admit it. I do not believe there is enough evidence to continue to believe in God. The world behaves exactly as you would expect it would, if there were no Supreme Being, no Supreme Consciousness, and no supernatural. My best judgment tells me that it's much more likely that we invented God, rather than God inventing us."
And I shuddered. I felt I was slipping off the raft.
And then I thought, "But I can't! I don't know if I can not believe in God! I need God. I mean we have a history together."
But then I thought, "Wait a minute. If you look over my life, every step of maturing for me, every single one, had the same common denominator. It was accepting what was true over what I wished were true. This was the case about guys, about my career, about my parents.
So how can I come up against this biggest question, the ultimate question, "Do I really believe in a personal God, and then turn away from the evidence? How can I believe, just because I want to? How will I have any respect for myself if I did that?
I thought of Pascal's Wager. Pascal argued that it's better to bet there is a God, because if you're wrong there's nothing to lose, but if there is, you win an eternity in heaven. But I can't force myself to believe, just in case it turns out to be true. The God I've been praying to knows what I think, he doesn't just make sure I show up for church. How could I possibly pretend to believe? I might convince other people, but surely not God.
And plus, if I lead my life according to my own deeply held moral principles, what difference did it make if I believed in God? Why would God care if I "believed" in him?
But then I thought, "But I don't know how to not believe in God. I don't know how you do it. How do you get up, how do you get through the day?"
I thought, "Okay, calm down. Let's just try on the not-believing-in-God glasses for a moment, just for a second. Just put on the no-God glasses and take a quick look around and then immediately throw them off. So I put them on and I looked around.
I'm embarrassed to report that I initially felt dizzy. I actually had the thought, "Well, how does the Earth stay up in the sky? You mean, we're just hurtling through space? That's so vulnerable!" I wanted to run out and catch the earth as it fell out of space into my hands.
And then I thought, "Oh yeah, gravity and angular momentum is gonna keep us revolving around the sun for probably a really long time." Then I thought, "What's going to stop me from just, rushing out and murdering people?" And I had to walk myself through it, why are we ethical? Well, because we have to be. We're social animals. We're extremely complex social animals. We evolved a moral sense, like an aversion to wanton murder, in order for communities to exist. Because communities help us survive better in much bigger numbers. And eventually we codified these internal evolved ethics inside of us into laws against things like wanton murder. So... I guess that's why I won't be rushing out and murdering people!
And then suddenly I felt like I'd cheated on God somehow and I went into the house and prayed and asked God, "To please, help me have faith!" But already it felt slightly silly, and vacant and I felt like I was talking to myself.
I thought. "Okay, I'll just not believe in God for one hour a day and see how it goes." So, the next day, I tried it again.
Then I thought, "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. What about those people who are like... unjustifiably jailed somewhere horrible, and they are like... in solitary confinement and all they do is pray... this means that I... like, I think they're praying to nobody? Is that possible?" And then I thought, "We gotta do something to get those people outta jail!"
Because no one else is looking out for them but us, no God is hearing their pleas. And I guess that goes for really poor people too or really oppressed people, who I had this vague notion; they had God to comfort them. And an even vaguer idea, that God had orchestrated their lot, for some unknowable grand design.
I wandered around in a daze thinking, "No one is minding the store!" And I wondered how traffic worked, like how we weren't just in chaos all the time. And slowly, I began to see the world completely differently. I had to rethink what I thought about everything. It's like I had to go change the wallpaper of my mind.7. Good-Bye To God
Eventually I was able to say good-bye to God. And I imagined him as this old man, this old broken down man more like an older version of the God on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. And if you looked closely you could see the Jesus on my poster in my high school bedroom, but older, much older, with long gray and white hair and lots of lines on his face. An old hippy who still smoked. And at one time he seemed so all-powerful and all-knowing and all-protective, but now he just seemed a little stinky.
I could just see him sitting on his suitcases near the front door of my house. And I said to him, "I'm sorry God; it's not you. It's me. It's just, I don't think you exist. I mean, God, look at it this way: it's really because I take you so seriously that I can't bring myself to believe in you. If it's any consolation, it's sort of a sign of respect. So, you know, sit here as long as you want to, stay for a while, if you need to, there's no big hurry."
And slowly, over the course of several weeks, he disappeared.
Looking back on it, I think I just walked around in a daze for a few months. My mind became such a private place. I had shared my mind with a God my whole life and now I realized that my thoughts were completely my own. No one was monitoring them, no one was compassionately listening to them, my thoughts were my own private affair, and something no one but me knew about.
And I had so much thinking to do! One day I was walking along Larchmont Blvd., a busy shopping area near my house. I was lost in thought, thinking: "So, I don't think anything happens to us after we die. Consciousness fades and stops like every other organ. So people just die."
Then I thought, "Wait a minute, so Hitler, Hitler just... died? No one sat him down and said, 'You fucked up buddy! And now you're going to spend an eternity in HELL!' So Hitler just died." I thought, "We better make sure that doesn't happen again."
And my brother Mike. He just died. I always had this idea that Mike's death, while premature, was his divine destiny somehow. And that his spirit didn't really die, it lived on. Not just in the memory of those that knew him, but in a real tangible sense. And I realized that I now thought he died. He really died. And he was gone, forever.
And then I realized I had to go and basically kill off everyone I ever knew who died who I didn't think really died.
Then I thought, "Oh, I get it. So, I am going to die. I'm going to die." I sat down on a bench and watched people bustling by and thought, "Wow. Life is so cheap and so precious."8. So, I'm Just Another Animal
So, I guess I'm just another animal on Earth, just a type of primate, the third chimpanzee, better at using tools and able to talk. And then I'm going to die and there will be eons of more time when I will not exist, just like the eons of time before I did.
I'm in my forties, about halfway through life, I hope. At this moment, the sun and the Earth and I are all middle aged. Just an animal on a planet in a solar system. Nothing special.
But then, I think about it in this way: The Earth is 4.5 billion years old. For a billion years there was no life at all, nothing. And then for three billion years, there were only algae and arche-bacteria. Dull green and brown primordial slime. For three billion years!
And then, just 500 million years ago, complex life came on the scene. Plants and animals, including us... who've been around for what? A few million years to a hundred thousand or so, depending on what you consider to be human?
If Genesis is a metaphor for creation, the metaphor is way off. God would not be creating man on the sixth day, but like, the six thousandth day. And all humanity would have been here for less than a second. Adam and Eve are blinking their eyes, just barely awake.
So, even if simple life exists all over the universe, it could be that any type of complex life is really rare. And then on top of that, when you think about how flying has evolved over and over again and how eyes have evolved over and over again, but how a species with a brain like ours, able to use language and tools the way we do, well, that's happened only once in 4 and a half billion years on Earth!
I mean it's not so improbable as to be impossible, given all the time involved and all the different species that have existed. But still, it's got to be pretty rare for animals like us to turn up. And in my DNA, is a history of this life on Earth. Not just back to the African Pliocene but even farther back from that, when we crawled out of the pond. And then even farther back from that when there were only single cell organisms. All told in the cells of my own body.
And to think that I live at a time when I can know and deeply understand that. It makes me feel so lucky.
Then I started thinking about all the little happenstances, all the little random moves, which resulted in me being alive, me in particular, at this very moment. Not just of my parents meeting, but even of the millions of sperm against the hundreds of possible eggs. I thought about this randomness multiplying, my parents, their parents: Marie meeting Tom in Yakima, Henrietta meeting Will on the cruise to Cuba, and then their parents, their parents, their parents. All the ways it could have gone one way, but it went the way it went. And all the possible people who could, just as easily, be here in my place.
Richard Dawkins wrote, "Certainly those unborn ghosts include poets greater than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. And in the teeth of these stupefying odds, it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here."
I suddenly felt very deeply that I was alive: Alive with my own particular thoughts, with my own particular story, in this itty-bitty splash of time. And in that splash of time, I get to think about things and do stuff and wonder about the world and love people, and drink my coffee if I want to. And then that's it.
I walked to my car and I had a ticket. My time had expired.
And I got in the car and I turned on the radio and there was that old Peggy Lee song. It used to be my Mom's favorite. I suddenly had this memory of us in the kitchen and that song coming on the radio. And my Mom was flipping hamburgers, dancing around the kitchen, taking care of all of her kids. "Is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing."ACTS
9. Mom & Dad Freak
I went to Spokane to visit my parents. My Dad walked to church every single morning, to Lourdes Cathedral for the six thirty a.m. Mass, and then he took the bus back home. On the days I was in town, I went with him. My dad was fun to walk to church with. He had a special way of walking downtown that took him past certain store windows and he could see if they changed things.
On the bus ride home, we would muse over the wording of certain prayers or recitations in the Mass. My dad loved it when the priest said, "Satan, who prowls thru the world, for the ruin of souls." We both agreed that it was the word "prowls" that made that phrase perfect.
Later that day, I told my parents that I had stopped believing in God. They just looked at me blankly. Sometimes I feel so sorry for my parents to have me as a kid. Sometimes I feel so thankful that my parents had a lot of kids. My mom said, "This doesn't mean that you've stopped going to church, does it?"
I suddenly felt so guilty about this religion: my parent's religion, the religion that they had given to us kids, and that I was now handing back to them.
I went to a conference in Washington D.C. put on by the Center for Inquiry, a non profit group that promotes science and critical thinking. A lot of people spoke at the conference. Then I got to give a speech too, which included my views on God. And the Associated Press covered it. And the wire story was picked up by my hometown paper.
Spokane, where I had recently hosted the Catholic Charities luncheon, where I had spoken repeatedly at my Catholic high school, where my parents took such pride in their Catholicism and their children and, who I believe now in retrospect, felt that my Catholicism was what connected me to my hometown, to my social class, and to them in spite of having moved away.
So one day, weeks and weeks after this speech, and without me even being aware this article existed out there, my parents went out and got their morning paper. And there I was on the back of the front section, a huge picture of me, and in bold letters, in a huge type it said, "Sweeney Loses Her Religion."
And the first two sentences of the article were: Julia Sweeney has come out of the closet. Period. As an atheist. Period.
It was the local angle and they led with it. And then the article went on and talked about the conference in general and barely mentioned me again.
My first call from my mother was more of a scream. "Atheist? ATHEIST?!?!"
My dad called and said, "You have betrayed your family, your school, your city." It was like I'd sold secrets to the Russians. They both said they were not going to speak to me anymore. My dad said, "I don't even think you should come to my funeral." After I hung up, I thought, "Just try and stop me."
I think my parents had been mildly disappointed when I'd said I didn't believe in God anymore, but being an atheist was another thing altogether. Frankly, I hadn't even described myself as an atheist, although, I suppose that I am. I don't live my life under the assumption that there's a God, so I guess that makes me an atheist. A-theist. Non-theist. But I like the word "naturalist" more. Atheist defines me on religious terms. I believe in a wholly natural universe, that makes religious people, in my mind, a-naturalists.
A few weeks went by, and there was no contact from my parents. And this was a huge deal; I usually spoke to my parents on the phone several times a week.
Then, one day, I got a call out of the blue from my mother on her cell phone and she said, "Julie, I just got out of the foot doctor and he told me that ..." And then there was a pause. She had forgotten she wasn't speaking to me anymore.
That began a series of sporadic phone calls that I would get from my mother sometimes in the wee early hours of the morning. Once at around 5:30 in the morning my phone rang. I picked it up and my mother said, "Why can't you just say you're still searching?" And I said, "Ah... Well, I am searching. If what you mean by searching is a continual yearning to understand better. But when it comes to God, at some point, don't you have to make a decision for yourself one way or the other? I mean, the way you look at the world if you believe in God is so different than the way you look at the world if you don't."
She said, "Well then why do you have to tell people about it? Everyone knows that there are those few people out there who don't believe in God, but they keep it quietly to themselves! Last night, your father said he even wished you'd announced you were gay. At least that's socially acceptable!"
To my parents it really was like I was rejecting them personally, or like saying I wasn't Irish anymore -- or worse, like 1 wasn't American anymore.
Once, I picked up the phone and my mother said, "Where do you get your peace?" And I repressed the urge to be sarcastic.
I said, "Well, mom, I guess I do have less peace. I don't think everything works out for the best, or that there is some grand plan. I don't think that things happen for a reason other than a tangible, actual reason. The sad things in life do seem sadder. But I guess I've learned how to live with it."
My mother said, "Julie, I just want you to be happy. Aren't you just depressed all the time now?" And I said, "No. I mean it's sort of turned out to be the opposite. I'm kind of astonished that I'm even here at all. The smallest things in life seem just amazing to me now. I'll look at a bridge and I'll think, "Wow, we figured out how to make a bridge." Look at all the knowledge we accumulated! Or like, I used to think, "There are no coincidences." Now I realize there are coincidences! Wow, coincidence! If this is all there is, everything means more, not less, right?"
Eventually my dad called me and said, "Listen, it's all right. I disagree with you, but I am proud of you for saying what you really think. Even though I think Satan might be prowling the world, for the ruin of your soul." And I said, "Maybe he's just strolling." And my dad said, "Lurking." And I said, "Sauntering." And he said, "Meandering... with a sinister intent."
I said, "Dad, now I need to tell you and mom something truly important. Can you get mom on the other line?" And my mom got on and said "Now what? I'm afraid." And I said, "Mom and dad, I'm going to have a baby." And my mother said, "But you can't have kids!" And my dad said, " And you aren't married." I said, "Mom and dad, it's a miracle!"A CHILD IS BORN
10. Mulan Arrives Be Dad Is Sick
I adopted a little girl from China. Her name is Mulan. Lots and lots of people told me how she was destined to be my daughter by the Universe and how God had planned our union. But frankly, it's a lot more meaningful to me, that out of all kids who could have been mine, it was us who ended up together. Here she is, in the vastness of all of space and time, my kid.
Mulan just so happens to be beautiful. After one party when people were fawning over her, as we drove home, I said, "Well, well. You're very pretty. You're not going to have to develop a personality like your mother had to." And one friend said, "She's so beautiful. When you look at her you just know there is a God." And I thought, "Because, if she were ugly, then there would be no God?"
Of course, my parents were immediately in the thrall of Mulan, and having her allowed us all to have this whole other wonderful, deeper relationship together. My dad started calling Mulan his "little pal," just what he'd called me when I was a kid. The two of them would take naps together on his bed and it was hard to tell which of them was snoring louder.
My father was ill. He had emphysema and as the doctors predicted, it was getting worse and worse. He also had heart problems and diabetes. A lifetime of smoking and drinking were exacting their price.
At the same time, although admittedly not on the same level of concern, my cat Rita also got very ill, an old-age thyroid condition that whittled her from her high weight of twenty one pounds down to six. Rita stopped grooming herself, and started lying around all day in one spot. It was like she was an old lady in a stained housecoat with curlers in her hair saying, "I don't give a shit how I look anymore. It doesn't matter."
My dad got weaker and weaker and eventually he had to be on oxygen 24 hours a day at the highest potency. Mulan and I traveled up to Spokane every month to see him. Soon he couldn't leave the condo at all. And his whole world became about listening to his old Bob and Ray tapes, listening to NPR, and watching reruns of "As Time Goes By" on PBS.
It was hard to tell if it was truly near the end or not. In fact, we had been expecting my dad to be going at any time for years and years. The doctors had predicted that my father could not possibly live past fifty and here he was: seventy- four. Countless Christmas's all of us kids would huddle together and get teary eyed because we just knew this was the last Christmas with dad. Only to find ourselves crying again the next year because surely this was the last Christmas with dad. And we adored him.
Finally, my mother called a couple weeks after a visit to say my dad was unconscious. When I got back to Spokane, my mother and the hospice nurses were caring for him in a hospital bed in the middle of our living room.
The family was starting to arrive, my aunts and uncles and brothers and my sister Meg was flying in to Spokane from Japan with her husband, Tsuyoshi.
The hospice nurses were wonderful. One was particularly religious, and she said, "I think your father is seeing others who have passed over before him."
My mother told me that a couple of days before he lost consciousness, this same nurse said to my dad, "Who will you miss the most in this life, Bob?" Which really irked me, just the automatic assumption that someone is capable of missing someone after they're dead and then be asked to rank them, in order. But for my mom and the nurse, and my dad, this was a reasonable question. And my dad gestured to his right side, where no one was standing, and said, "Janice."
We don't know any Janices. Janice.
There are two things I remember about my dad dying. And one thing I remember not being able to remember.
I remember how quickly his body got cold after he died. I was shocked at what heat we generate. Everyone else I've been around near or at death, their bodies were just whisked away right after they died. But my dad's body stayed in the living room for about six hours after he died, and we all just got to be with him: pet his head and kiss his cheeks, and laugh and cry and reminisce.
And I remember later that night, as I laid in bed, suddenly aware that I couldn't remember the last time my dad and I hugged. What was the last time? My last trip, I suppose? At the coat closet? Did I think that was it? Did I hug him properly, hard? Did I look him in the eye and say "See you later." "Take care." I can't remember!
But I do remember a moment a couple of days before he died, when he was unconscious and I was on the night watch. And he suddenly opened his eyes and focused them right at me. I asked him to squeeze my hand. He didn't. His eyes were bright and blue and it looked like the Universe in there. We held each other's gaze and it still seems to me like time stopped just then. And then his eyes unfocused and his lids closed.11. A Funeral
My mother wanted to talk to Monsignor Ribble at the Cathedral right away to set the date of the funeral, which we couldn't delay because so many people were coming in already from far away places.
So my mother gathered me and my sister and her husband and my brothers and we got to the church about fifteen minutes before Saturday's five thirty Mass. About thirty people were already in their seats waiting for Mass to begin.
We were on the side of the altar looking into the sacristy where we could see Monsignor Ribble putting on his vestments. To me, it was too late to interrupt him before the Mass, but my mother said, "Follow me." And she started to walk right across the sanctuary, right across where you aren't supposed to go, towards the sacristy, with her head held high.
I followed her and so did my family, heads bowed, shoulders hunched, and coats dangling. Walking across that altar, I never felt so shanty Irish, my mother never looked so determined, and I never loved our family more.
Monsignor Ribble seemed very sad about the news of my father's death and didn't seem to be upset that we'd descended on him right before Mass. Not only was my dad in his Mass every morning, they had also taken an exercise class together for Survivors of heart attacks that Sacred Heart hospital put on. I remember picking up my dad after class one time, and being so surprised to see Monsignor Ribble, without his white collar and in sweats, doing step-ups and step- together-steps.
Monsignor asked me if I was going to be speaking at the funeral.
I said "I guess so" and he took me aside and said, "I'll ask you to refrain from speaking about your knowledge pilgrimage." It was like he said, "sexual orgy, drug induced" pilgrimage. And I said, "I won't, I wouldn't."'
We went right into the Mass, and Monsignor Ribble's homily was all about the need for priests in the Church. He described the situation as desperate. I looked down the pew at my brothers and sister. None of us are Catholic, except my sister Meg who is, so far at least, choosing not to have children. Are we typical?
Monsignor went on and talked about the mystery of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit being one, and the mystery of how God loves us in spite of our faults. And before I knew it, I was sitting in my father's funeral in the exact same pew. I looked around the church at all my father's friends, at our families' friends, my old friends, and my family and I got caught up. I looked at the altar through my father's eyes. And it was rich and beautiful. I was baptized in this very church when I was one week old. In so many real ways, I cannot stop being a Catholic. Christianity helped shape my brain.
Suddenly it seemed inevitable to me that, after all this "searching," I would now return to the Catholic Church. I unexpectedly felt right back where I started, surprised like Dorothy back from Oz.
After all, when I left I didn't know I was going to give up on God altogether, I just thought I would join a different church that made more sense to me. Maybe this time it would be more meaningful somehow because I wouldn't be debating over what I believed or didn't believe, I would know that I didn't believe in any of it.
I mean objective reality isn't always the most pleasant prism through which to view the world. Maybe by using fantasy we allow ourselves to glimpse something greater than we otherwise would be able to. And let's face it: truth is such a poor competitor in the marketplace of ideas. And the love and the community in this church are real and potent, even if God isn't.
We had the wake at the Spokane Club, across the street from the Cathedral. I got up and said, "I wish my dad were here to see his family and friends, he would have liked this night very much."
I had no idea that I had just said something quasi-controversial, and over the evening several people came up to me and said, "I think your dad IS here, right now. Right now in this very room."
At some point, someone said to me; "You know, you're Jewish, right?" I said, "Do you know something about me that I don't know?" And he said, "No, it's that... Jews are expected to wrestle with God. Even if you don't want to struggle, it's like, an obligation. You'd fit in perfect!"
After the wake, I looked across the street at Lourdes Cathedral in the moonlight.
And I thought, "But I can't rejoin this church. I would start listening to the words again and it would just drive me nuts. I do wish there were a beautiful building where I could mark the transitions in my life with ancient rituals and great art. But where what we know about the world, isn't ignored."
You know, a few months ago, Stephen Hawking came out and said that his theory that Black Holes obliterate anything that falls into them, probably his biggest contribution to science, the theory that his fame and reputation is based on, may not be right.
Wouldn't it be great if the Pope could do the same thing? If he came out and said, "Oh my, I've just discovered what science shows us about our humble but spectacular place in the universe, and I have to say: it is thrilling and mind-boggling beyond all imaginings! It makes the Bible so puny and uninspired, and certainly less poetic, by comparison. I'm terribly sorry. I sincerely misunderstood so much. I almost wish there were a God so I could be punished for all the suffering I have obliviously caused in the world. But since there will be no cosmic punishment for me, I will spend what time I have left working in a family planning clinic in Latin America. Good day."12. More Mormon Boys
Mulan and I came back to Los Angeles after the funeral and two days later our cat, Rita, died. Mulan understood death at that time like a four-year-old understands death. Which means not really getting it. Death is like people and animals are gone, but they must be somewhere. Sometimes she'd say, "Why didn't grandpa come to his party?" And I repressed the urge to say, "Some of the people thought he was at the party."
A couple of weeks later, there was a knock at the door and who was there but two Mormon missionaries. And they said they had a message for me, from God.
I said, "I already got my message from God. A few years ago, two Mormon missionaries came to my door and they changed my life." And they said, "They did?" And I said, "Yes. Because of them, I don't believe in God at all anymore! I mean, I guess they didn't effect me in exactly the way they hoped, but for me, it has been a very exciting journey."
They didn't seem nearly as excited as I was.
On Father's Day that year, Mulan and I and our new dog, Arden, were in Runyon Canyon, hiking, which for us really means walking very slowly uphill with a lot of rests.
And we got to a place called Inspiration Point that looks out over the city, and Mulan yelled, "Mom! It's the whole world! Where's China?" And I said, "You can't see China from here, but if you look way out there you can see Santa Monica." We started up the hill again, this steeper part, with Mulan ahead of me.
And she said, "Mom, who's Santa again?" And I said, "Oh... he's a mythological character that we... " And she turned around on the hill; she was at eye level with me. She said, "Mom! Santa lives at the North Pole and brings you presents on Christmas if you're good!?!" And I said, "Yes. That's exactly right."
My mother says Mulan is going to grow up to be a nun, that's how God is going to get his revenge on me.
Who knows, maybe she will be a nun, but I hope I can teach her, that true mystery is all around her.
Because you know, the Church has it all backwards when it comes to mystery. In fact, it trivializes the very thing it claims to represent: the awe-inspiring grandeur of true, deep mystery. We live on a planet, spinning about in a wondrous universe without any apparent purpose. And the mystery of why there is something rather than nothing is a question we may never know the answer to.
I looked down at Mulan who was brushing the bangs out of her eyes and I thought, "Wow. If even our memories are so transient all any one of us truly has is this very moment."
Mulan looked up at me and said, "Are Papa and Rita together?" And I said, "No. They died. But it's nice to think about them together." And she said, "I think they are together." And I said, "What do you imagine they're doing?" And she said, "Rita is sitting on Papa's lap and she's purring." And I said, "Doesn't that feel good, to think that? People do live on after they die, inside of us, and just thinking about them."
And she said, "What I think about is in my head?" And I said, "Yeah. That's your brain. Anytime you want, you can think and think and think, about whatever you want."
.And she said, "Well I'm thinking about Legoland." And I said, "Legoland?" And she said, "Yeah, Legoland!"
And I said, " All right. Sounds like a plan."