'Everything happens for a reason' is cowardly. Anyone who's gone through tragedy -- which is, eventually, all of us -- learns this.
My dad didn't die for a reason. My dad died because he was a human who behaved like a human: imperfectly. He was driving a large machine on a winding road. (I actually don't know if the road was winding. I don't even know the name of the road or what part of town it's in or exactly what town that unnamed road is even in. Does it matter? Would it change one single thing if I could pinpoint the spot of land on which he went from being my breathing father to my dead father?) He swerved or he veered. He knew it was coming or he didn't. Then the phone rang in the middle of the night just like we all wish it never will.
Looking for deeper meaning in the why of it -- which I did for years -- was simply a distraction from the horrifying reality of my grief.
The answer to the question of why is actually quite simple: because we are living life on earth as human people. Things like car accidents and cancer and betrayal and unmet expectations - these are all products of being born a person. They are not bad and they are not good. We label them to help us understand our feelings.
Hard feelings are given a bad rap. Uncomfortable feelings -- feelings that make our bodies ache and shake and cause noises to come out of our throats, that make us again elemental -- honey, that is the stuff of life, of human person living. Do not miss out on a fundamental part of the reason you're here because you're hellbent on being comfortable.
You weren't put here to be comfortable.
You were put here to expand.
You won't find me on Facebook because my usually-latent-but-sometimes-overactive anxiety can't hang there. But you can read more of my sporadically-posted words on my blog, and you can follow my wildly exciting adventures in food/kids/outfits right here on Instagram. And, hey: thanks, sweet thang. I love you already. -EB
This post is part of Common Grief, a Healthy Living editorial initiative. Grief is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn't make navigating it any easier. The deep sorrow that accompanies the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or even moving far away from home, is real. But while grief is universal, we all grieve differently. So we started Common Grief to help learn from each other. Let's talk about living with loss. If you have a story you'd like to share, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.