Earlier this morning, I had tea with a dear friend who is struggling, justifiably so as she feels suspended between the life she longs to be living and more immediate emotional and financial burdens. I know all too well the pain of this divide. As I listened, my heart bled and my mind fumbled for words. I wanted more than anything to soothe her, to somehow save her from the pain that weighed so heavy against her.
Tears spilled from her eyes as she wondered aloud: "why"?
"Why me? Why this? Why now?"
Now I'll be honest, a half decade ago I would have swept in with reassurances. I would have attempted to force feed her my love, lacing it with new age dogma. Hell, I may have even insisted upon some bullshit promise about her future - one that I have absolutely no business making.
But as it turns out, today is the fifth anniversary of my brother's sudden and tragic death... and when he left this world he inadvertently took something of mine with him - namely, my sense of anything and everything I held as certain in the world. Beginning five years ago today, each and every day has become a question mark waiting to be answered.
Except for when it comes to one.
Because some questions have no answer.
And apparently WHY?... is really none of our damned business.
Experience has taught me that "why's" of the existential variety are attempts to understand a vantage point that is totally and utterly incomprehensible to our human sensibilities. Asking why implies that order and justice exist in this world. While this may or may not be true on a grandiose scale (I'll leave your spirituality to you), there is no denying that justice doesn't always prevail on the surface of things.
I don't know why.
What I DO know is that when we are caught in despair, distracting ourselves with unanswerable queries only fuels the pain. Grief and seasons of life that seem unfair and/or too difficult to swallow are emotion-drenched tsunamis.
What good is a weather report when you're drowning?
We may never know why.
And we certainly won't get over it.
We can, however, move through it.
Bit by bit. Breath by breath. Choice by choice.
Stop asking why, ask instead for honest support, and then feel it all. Despair, hopelessness, judgement, anger, and the absolute pinnacle of pain - that I-just-don't-give-a-fuck-anymore moment when an old canvas is finally torched and a your new life is born.
Yours in Creation AND Destruction,
P.S. Here's a related poem I wrote back in 2011, less than a year after Tony's passing. It's called: "three letter word"