There are so many things I wish I’d asked my mother. Tonight I’d like to know about her favorite saints. I want to know what shook her faith for so many decades, and the energies that brought her back to the church before she unexpectedly died.

Today we crossed two million cases of coronavirus in the United States, yet the number hardly makes a dent. There’s a sense it’s all behind us now. Perhaps it’s the summer weather or the government’s negligence. Maybe we can only be vigilant for so long. If there’s a second wave of disease in the fall, I don’t think we’ll lockdown again unless people are exploding in the streets. This thing’s gone from novel to normal in less than three months.

Sometimes I wish I believed in something otherworldly, that I had an icon or figurine to kneel before. A lady who smoked extra-long menthols once told me that prayer is simply a form of directed thought. “That’s all it is,” she said. “So why not give it a shot?”

Each night in 2020 I wrote a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I wanted to etch these times into my memory. Before the world changed completely.

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