In my world of the Afterloss there is this giant mythological creature with two heads called Futility. One head constantly moans “if only” and the other head incessantly cries, “why?” In my first layer of loss Futility stalked me, haunted me and consumed me.

Today I woke up wondering what I could share that is common to most in the world of the Afterloss. I could go on about “if only” and the damage it does for centuries. However, what has been the greatest impediment to my healing is the relentless question “Why?”

I have this theory that kindergarten teachers all over the world have made a pact as a payback to parental shortcomings to teach every five-year-old the game “Why?” Matt was no different. The game is to ask “why?” to every answer. There is no end to the game. I found myself playing for a while and then getting both bored and annoyed. The top three endings to the game of “why?” are: 1) “Oh, look it’s time to distract you in any way I can”, 2) “Because I said so,” and 3) “That’s enough.”

For years I kept asking “why?” Why did the doctor not come personally to see Lydia when we went to the hospital three weeks before due date? Why did the resident send us home only for Lydia to have the seizures thirty minutes after we left the hospital? Why did she get a transfusion that was unnecessary and only given as a “precaution”? Why was she infected with HIV? Why did Matt get HIV? Why didn’t they find out and tell us before Bryan was born, only to live a torturous eight months of what was barely a life?

I will never know why? Yet I, too, searched everywhere. I searched in numerous theological and philosophical systems looking for a satisfactory answer. I thought I needed to know why. My head hurt with the moaning and crying of Futility and if I could just get an answer then maybe he would stop.

A wise man in my community was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and has since died. He said he spent the initial period after diagnosis asking “why me?” His answer came, not from the question, but from another question – “why not me?”

When Matt was ten I took him to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. I was born in the Christian faith, was taught that belief system and embraced that belief system in my early years. Today, I have no labels for my beliefs. If someone asks me what I believe, my answer is “I am a human, born of Spirit.”

I had already been to the Holocaust Museum before and I decided that if I ever had the chance to take Matt I would and the chance came. The reason I took him was because I wanted to put his life into perspective. Both his mother and brother had died. He was keenly aware of the physical deterioration that had begun in him. He, too, had to travel the question “why?” I wanted Matt to step into the larger context of life – the why not me? I wanted Matt to see that his sorrow and loss is not only his. Sorrow and loss is a part of all of us. We all share this path, some sooner, some later.

We walked silently through this museum of whys. As we were leaving Matt had one question. In a subdued tone Matt asked, “Why would people do this to each other?” I was proud that my ten-year-old son asked the right question. I was also proud of my answer. I replied, “I don’t know, Matt. I don’t know.”

I am only a human born of Spirit, but I just wish we humans could be more humane.

Every belief system can bring comfort to the believer. But every system I have explored has a jumping off point. Some call it a leap of faith, or stepping into the mystery, or some other term that attempts to describe the unknowable.

I have come to find peace in living in the Unknown. For years I thought if I could just find the answer to “Why?” then I could make some sense out of all this and find some peace. My experience is that it is just the opposite. Every why led to another why just like the game “Why?”

The Unknown does not trouble me. It does not leave me unresolved. What I have discovered is that I am blinded more by what I see than what I don’t see and Futility wants me to keep searching for what isn’t even in my reach. And in the Unknown of my Afterloss, Futility has no access and there is no need to live in “if only” or “why?

I’ll never know why. And that’s okay. At this point, all I know is I am a human, born of Spirit. And in Spirit, there is only love. I stopped the game of “Why?” with “that’s enough.” And that works for me.





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