One of the most hurtful things you can say to someone who has suffered a major loss is, “Everything happens for a reason.” Really? What’s the reason?
There are so many things people say that can be hurtful to someone traveling this journey. I could list a hundred of them, as I’ve heard them all, and while every single one of them was said by a well-meaning person, not a single one of them was helpful.
When someone dies, especially unexpectedly, there is no rhyme or reason.
This week, a family in my town has suffered an unimaginable loss caused by a freak accident. I worry about the kids left behind, after both parents passed away. I worry about what they’ll really hear amidst all the words spoken to them, what they’ll take to heart, what they’ll remember, and how they’ll process this horrific journey at their young ages. And I pray no one says to them that everything happens for a reason.
One of my biggest struggles on this journey has been the conundrum of God’s will versus free will. How does it all work? I have no clue, and it will probably be the first question I have when it’s my turn to ask Him. When someone passes unexpectedly, you can’t help but go through the “what ifs” in your mind, even years later. For me, it’s been, in no particular order: What if they’d done a chest x-ray earlier? What if he’d been honest about his symptoms? What if he’d come to bed that last night? What if he’d not been worried about worrying me?
My grandma (or was it dad?) used to tell me, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, there’d be a party in heaven.”
The what ifs can play with you and deeply affect how you face this journey.
Sometimes there are no reasons. Stuff happens. Accidents happen. We don’t have to always know the reasons. But we do have to be present to face whatever comes next, and make a choice in how we respond, both for ourselves, and to others.