I’ve had many trials in my 36 years on this earth.
Some were harder than others, but they were all trials none the less. I like to believe I learned something from each one. That they happened for a reason and I eventually learned what that reason was.
Part of the human experience and earthly life is experiencing a paradox of emotions. Happiness and sorrow, pleasure and pain, good or bad…we will all undoubtedly experience them all. Some of the trials we face are because of our own shortcoming and mistakes. Some of them are completely beyond our control. Trials…they are everywhere and no matter how long you may happen to live on this earth you will have them all the time. The constant peaks and valleys along this journey called life.
I used to find some kind of solace in the saying, “Everything happens for a reason” when experiencing the many hardships life seemed to throw my way. It almost made the trial more palatable and easier to bear. That the trial was somehow for my benefit and it would make me a better person, or at least I hoped. I would make lemonade with the lemons thrown my way.
Somehow, someway my family or I always made it out on the other end ok and intact. I look back at my many trials and I am so thankful for them in my life because they taught me something. Whether it was something about myself or something about life and what I wanted.
Over time and once the hardship had passed I knew they all “happened for a reason”. These are the trials I like to call temporary trials. They happen, but they ALWAYS eventually end. There is a finish line if you will.
However, sometimes there are trials in life that are permanent. They have no ending. You are forever stuck in them and clearly aware there is no escape. The only thing time will hopefully bring is a softening of the pain and trial you are left to bear for the rest of your life. It feels as if the world has thrown you the fastest curveball and it has gone straight through your body and soul, leaving a gaping hole that can never be pieced back together. A massive wound is left and it can’t ever be fixed. One of these permanent trials is called child loss.
The trial of losing a child, no matter what their age or how they passed away, is one of permanence. There is no “moving on” or “making lemonade out of lemons”. There is no end. No finish line to ever cross.
There is no silver lining in losing a child either. Losing a child hurts like hell and I won’t pretend it is anything but awful, agonizing, soul-wrenching and life-shattering. Until you walk in the shoes of a grieving parent you will never understand that “everything happens for a reason” does NOT apply here.
Hearing the statement, “everything happens for a reason” after our infant son passed away was like having someone rip open my already massive wound a little more. It hurt to my core to hear those words.
To a grieving parent, there will never be a good enough reason for their child to have passed away.
There will never be a good enough reason for being forced to say a final goodbye when all we ever wanted to say each day is “hello, I love you” and “goodnight, sleep tight my love”. There won’t ever be a good enough reason for their child to not be in their arms. There will never be a good enough reason to have to give one final kiss or one final hug. There won’t ever be a good enough reason for the memories that should have been made to be gone. There won’t ever be a good enough reason for their lives to still press on, but yet their child’s life stopped.
When this statement is said to a grieving parent, one who has lost a precious child, it is meant to somehow help them find a reason for their loss. It is said out of love and from a good place. Most grieving parents understand this. We understand others are at a complete loss of what to say. As a grieving mother, I know this deep in my heart, but it stings each and every time I hear it. It almost sounds to me like the person instead is saying, “Get over it. Move on. Your son wasn’t supposed to be here and you need to let it go”.
Sometimes “everything happens for a reason” isn’t reason enough for our trial.
Maybe sometimes life deals you a crappy hand and over a long period of time, you learn how to deal with the hand you’ve been dealt. Sometimes platitudes and silver linings don’t apply. And in the life of a bereaved parent, “everything happens for a reason” will never apply to our daily reality of a life without one of our children. My plea to people who are trying to support grieving Moms and Dads is this…please understand there is no fixing our pain. Please understand there is no silver lining to be had for the death of our child. Please just be a listening ear and there when we need you. Mourn with us no matter how long it may take because it will be a lifetime of mourning for us. Please don’t say “everything happens for a reason” to us because I honestly can’t think of any good reason for my child to not be here…can you??
To my fellow Moms and Dads who are forever missing their child who is no longer on this earth, this is my hope and prayer, not only for myself but for each of you:
That you learn how to live again instead of merely exist. That you learn how to better manage your pain and heartache day by day and sometimes hour by hour. That you will someday see the world in color again even if those colors are just always a little bit dimmer. That you find your new normal. That you find some sort of beginning in healing. And finally, that you learn how to always keep your child’s memory alive and with you always.