I stood looking at his grave. My only son, dead at seventeen. Briefly I pondered what I would write on his tomb stone. What could I say about him that would redeem him?
Stuart placed his arm around my shoulders and stood there with me. I leaned into him for comfort.
“It’ll be ok Sarah. They will forget.”
I turned to look for any mourners who had followed us out here. There were none. There had been none at the church either, except for Stuart and Father Harvey. Nobody was mourning the death of my son, they were celebrating. Privately, but still celebrating.
“I wish none of this had ever happened,” I whispered.
“So do we all Seh, so do we all.”
Father Harvey made his way down to where we were standing.
“Father, where is he? Can he be in Heaven?” I was trembling despite Stuart’s strong arm around me.
“Ah Sarah, we will never know what was in his heart at that moment. It is said that if you believe in Jesus Christ you will go to Heaven. I think that’s why so many death row prisoners convert to Christianity. As to whether Keegan is in Heaven, I can’t say for sure. I just can’t say.”
“But Father, he was a good boy. He WAS. Where did I go wrong Father? Was I such a bad mother?”
“It’s not your fault Seh,” Stuart interjected, hugging me closer.
“But whose fault is it then? Who is to blame? God?”
“God is not to blame either Sarah,” Father Harvey murmured. “Yes, sometimes bad things happen and we blame God, we are angry at Him. Like with Brett. People need someone to blame, and when they can’t blame a certain person they turn to God.” He cleared his throat. “But God tests us with trials. He tests our faith...”
“So I lacked faith?”
He looked at me pityingly. “Maybe Keegan lacked faith.”
“My son was brought up in a good Christian home. He attended mass every Sunday. He had faith Father, he had faith!”
In the distance I heard laughter and cheering. My face went beet red.
“Maybe he placed his faith in the wrong things Sarah,” Father Harvey was trying to be kind. “Maybe he didn’t really believe in God, but in whatever caused him to do what he did.”
“Why did he do it?”
“We will never know Seh,” Stuart rubbed my shoulder.
“Will he ever be redeemed?”
“The people will forget eventually,” Father Harvey spoke authoritatively. “If not, I will have many people coming to confess un-forgiveness and anger after the sermon I am going to preach on Sunday.”
Stuart turned me ever so slightly away from the grave, and the three of us began making our way back to the church.
“Feel free to sit awhile inside Sarah,” Father Harvey placed his hand on my shoulder as we reached the door. Then he turned and walked away.
I knew that I wouldn’t. There would be people coming soon, and I know that seeing me here would turn them away. They couldn’t bear to see me at the church.
“Stu, I’m not sure I believe in God anymore.”
“Neither am I Seh, neither am I.”
Making our way down the street we passed a few townsfolk. Each and everyone stared at me with hatred in their eyes. Some with disgust. The only ones who had any pity for me were Stuart and Father Harvey. The only friends I had at the moment.
Today I had buried my son, but it seems that I had lost him long before.