I'm pretty sure I don't believe in God. I definitely don't believe in hell. But apparently I do believe in heaven.
The first person in my life who died was my mother, who exited the scene at 52, when I was 20. Since everybody else I knew was still around, I consoled myself with that. I could live without Mom now and forever, could be content with the notion that her considerable spirit lived through me and my sister and then everyone else down through the ages, until the sun went out (presumably without revealing the purpose of this whole sweaty exercise).
But now Dad's gone too. Not to mention Larry Ragan, Eddie Reardon, Uncle David, Studs Terkel, Bill Lavicka and Mark Weber.
And where I was once content with the mere massive memory of my mother, I find myself not wishing, not hoping, but rather casually, quietly, only half-consciously assuming that my soul will meet back up with the ever-growing gang of dead people who built it.
Well, they're not showing up at the J&M Tap, where I keep looking for them.
It's heaven that I must be thinking of. That's gotta be where we're all going to meet up again.
I think I can do without any one of those people for eternity.
But I can't very well do without all of them.