Why'd You Have to Go

Anyone who has a heart feels broken when tragedy or violence takes a loved one out of their life. For those left behind, 'forever' the word that used to be filled with promise starts tonight, today, this moment in time. Violence is senseless regardless of the underlying cause. The death and carnage left behind defies understanding. Vivid stories describing the event or even the carefully crafted clinical description on the certificate that officially ends the life you loved can't begin to answer the one question that matters most. Why? Why'd they have to go?

Tragedy is always hard to understand, made more so by its abrupt arrival in our lives. All the careful planning for a secure future, the precautions taken to ensure safety and security disappear like a sunny day colliding with incomprehensible evil. There is no way to prepare for sudden tragedy. We are profoundly stuck in a malevolent ugly plot crafted by the choices of another. Life changes on a dime; suddenly tomorrow is no more. Where do we go from this point?

The human body responds with a thankful state of shock, our built-in insulator that allows us to survive and function. It is a necessary reprieve from a reality too harsh to accept. We are on 'auto pilot' as we move through the next few days and weeks that all blend together in a maze of pain. The horror coexists with loneliness, rage and a burning desire to understand why. Why us, why our loved one? There lies within each of us who has survived a tragedy, regardless of a personal decision about spirituality, the absolute certainty that there is more than this. All that has gone before, all that you know about life and all the wonder about death lead to the surety that the journey does not abruptly end forever. And so the search begins, where are you, where did you go, why did it happen? This is especially true when we lose a child; they are our future, the thing we could count on in our own forever.

It is in the silence that we find our answers, that we are certain we have made a connection. Why does this happen? Because for perhaps the first time we are willing to believe that it can be. As much as we need to believe in forever, even more so for our children who should never leave before us, we are faced with the undeniable fact that there are places they can and must go where we can't go, at least not now. We turn instinctively to a higher power, our Creator, to care for the one we have loved and lost. We do this knowing that it is the safe place we can trust if we are forced to accept what we can never understand.

As time passes we are left with our attempts to accept what has happened, to release the pain and grief that has engulfed our life. We embrace the only plausible explanation for the question that has been looming throughout the process. 'Why'd you have to go?' Regardless of what we cannot understand we begin to realize that the one we have lost finished early, completed their own personal journey and returned to the loving Creator who always accompanied them. We understand that even in the worst of their story, they were never alone. There comes an acceptance that the overwhelming love we shared with them pales in comparison to the love they were surrounded with throughout, most especially when they left. Somehow this is the balm that soothes our brokenness and begins the healing we so desperately seek. Because we must go on and get through this; we have to build a new normal.

Tragedy, horror and evil leave a lasting imprint on our emotions, making it even more difficult to find answers to those inner questions that consume us. 'What were they feeling when this happened, did they know we loved them so?' It helps to know they were always enveloped in a love we can never comprehend. Even if we can never forget the way things ended, we can embrace the goodness we shared and never let go of the good memories. So long as we hold our memories close, the one we lost never really leaves us. They live on in our new forever.


Popular Posts