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Why?


Why? Why did my child die? Why did God let this happen? Why didn't I see the signs? Why didn't I do more to help? Why did he get so sick? Why couldn't the doctors save her? Why did this happen to me? Why? There are hundreds of "why's" we ask ourselves after we lose a child. Some have answers, but, unfortunately, many do not. They just add to the anger, or guilt, or depression, or other emotions we are experiencing. When we focus on the why's, we can spiral and escalate the emotions to unhealthy levels.


How can you stop the why's? That is a great question. I can tell you how I stopped my why's, and I hope it helps you. My why's fell into three categories: the why's with answers now, the why's with answers later, and the why's that will never have an answer. One of my why questions was "Why didn't I see the signs?" My son, Mark died by suicide. I should have seen the signs. As I look back as a suicide prevention advocate, I can see all the signs, but at the time of Mark's suicide, I didn't know the signs to look for. That was my answer, and I had to accept it. I didn't know. That's why I teach the signs to others today. If you know the answer to one of your why's, try to accept the answer and stop asking the question, even if you don't like the answer.


Some of my why questions had answers that came later. One of the most impactful why questions was "Why did God let this happen?" I asked that question for some time before God sent me to the Book of Psalms and pointed me to Psalm 139. In this psalm, King David describes how God is always with us and how he created us. Verse 16 is the one that answered my question. "Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (NIV). All of the days ordained for Mark had come to an end. Regardless of how Mark died, this was the time given to him before he was created. I was content with this answer. I no longer had to ask that why question. Some of your questions will eventually get answers, as well.


The last type of why questions were the ones I would get no answers to. "Why did Mark decide to take his life?" was the biggest in this category. I had to get to the point where I could accept that there are questions that won't be answered, and stop asking them and thinking about them. It would only upset me and waste my time. I'm just not going to get the answer, and I can live with that. Some of your why questions are not going to be answered. Can you get to a place where you can accept that? It is not easy, but it is all a part of learning to live with your loss.

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