WARNING: This is NOT my usual fare, but it is, as always, me, telling my truth.
Someone I know lost a child last weekend. The child was twenty-six years old, on the cusp of successful adulthood, and now, she is gone. I lost a child three years ago. She was twenty years old, living with the challenges of mental retardation and autism, and now she is gone.
Why? Why would these two sweet and beautiful children be taken from their loving mothers so senselessly?
It does not matter.
All that matters is that it happened. Period.
I learned, years ago, when my sweet daughter was diagnosed with all her mental disabilities, that to ask “why” was an exercise in frustration. The reality – that she was handicapped – required energy and concentration, because it WAS; wondering why was a waste of valuable and scarce emotional resources. When she died, after a horrific nine month battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it seemed ridiculous to ask why. It just happened. Period.
There is little use for wondering why things that shock our consciences – fly completely in the face of all reason – defy rational analysis – happen. They happen. Period.
I suggest to you that we stop asking “why,” and start accepting our reality. I suggest – strongly – that we permit those who are struggling with unimaginable circumstances of anguish to cope with the fact that it happened and not press them to wonder why. It does not help to try to rationalize an irrational act or event. Let the emotional energy flow toward acceptance of the loss and learning to live – LIVE- with a very different view of the future.
This admonition to avoid Why applies to the good and wonderful parts of life, too. When we look too hard for reasons for things that just happen – including falling in love, making friends, finding our passion – we are misdirecting our energy and focus. We are wasting it.
Sure, there are reasonable times to ask; but be sure, when you find that why creeping into your mind, that the answer is knowable, valuable, and actionable. If it isn’t all three, then it is a waste of your energy – energy better spent in the reality of the situation, tragic or wonderful or, sometimes, both.
Love your children. Love your neighbors. Love your fellow human beings. Why? It will keep your heart strong. It will see you through those inexplicable losses. It will give you joy. That’s why.