The other day, a friend said to me, “none of us are getting out of this alive.” Wait…really? Oh yeah, there it is that nasty little truth that we are all going to die. It’s just a matter of time. Life can be so fucking hard but we still cling to it as we carry with us life’s many “bloodbaths”. Time is our committed companion during these times.
I read a good piece by Tim Lawrence, him fussing and fuming about people who in the midst of someone elses crisis provides the platitude, “Everything happens for a reason”. http://www.timjlawrence.com/blog/2015/10/19/everything-doesnt-happen-for-a-reason In his writing I could hear his anger, his reproach of these “do-gooders” and I started to reflect…how do I feel when someone attempts to comfort me using passages like: “This will make you stronger”, “God has a plan”, “God never gives you anything you can’t handle”. Of course sometimes what is offered is the blistering comment of a person who is trying, but who without knowing what to say, says the absolute wrong thing for the situation. And this is where I disagree with Mr. Lawrence; to discard them because of my own pain, is MY limitation. “Everything happens for a reason” is an attempt to say that sometimes we just don’t know why tragedies happen and their might be a “bigger plan” that we are unable to fathom. It is a statement of faith. It gives me hope.
After my grandson was shot and killed at the age of 18, there was nothing anyone could say that provided comfort. I was grieving, I was angry, and I felt like God had abandoned me. “I don’t know what to say,” turned out to be the most comfort I could get. So many scenes of my life had already included what I assumed was my fair share of cruelty and disappointments: an abusive mother, a biological father who didn’t want me, an alcoholic step father, sexual assault, and a failed first marriage. But my grandson’s tragic death taught me that there is no limit to the amount of sadness or grieving you might experience in a life. Better to expect it without limitations; “shit happens”. And it happens to everyone. And anyone who has the courage and care to attempt comforting me when it does, is not anyone I want to “get rid of”.