Loss & Grief: Answering the Question “Why”?

The most common experience we have as human beings is experiencing a major loss.  That means anything that wipes out a significant piece of whatever make our lives normal.  The death of a loved one, a divorce, the loss of a job, bankruptcy, losing a home to foreclosure, relocation and losing a body part to injury or illness are all major losses.  The list of additional major losses is endless.

When we experience any major loss, the most common question is “Why?”

●   Why did my husband(wife) die?

●   Why did I lose my precious child?

●   Why do I have cancer?

●   Why did my spouse want someone else?

●   Why did we have to move to this Godforsaken place?

The pain of our loss is all-consuming.  Our minds cry out for understanding and our hearts for comfort.

In our pain we look for someone or something to blame for the loss.  If all else fails, we blame God.

Actually, there is one answer to the question of why we experience terrible losses.  Here it is:

This is a mortal, frail, imperfect world
in which the word, “fair,” doesn’t always apply.

That’s the one answer that can ultimately lift you out of the pit of suffering and enable you to create a new normal for your life.  It’s why unimaginably bad things happen to the most wonderful people.

It is a fact of life that we are real, live, mortal human beings who live in a world that is also mortal, very frail and not always fair.  There is no other option.  To anyone who asks, “What did I do wrong to deserve this?” the answer is, “You were born.”  Since you had nothing to do with that, it isn’t your fault.

Once any of us accepts this perception, we will no longer think we have been singled out for suffering.  The question changes from “Why me?” to “Why not me?”

The beginning of comfort and healing is sensing that we are not the only one to feel as we do.  If misery loves company, coping with major loss and grief loves it even more.


Bob Deits, M.Th.


© 2011

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