This month I’ve squarely faced one of life’s most difficult questions, very simply boiled down to ‘why?’. There are no answers. The specific question is why do some die from the HLH our Megan has, and why do some live? I have thought about that since we learned that her disease is a killer. It was more than a rhetorical question for too long, as she marched to the edge of the abyss, before slowly drifting back to us. As I leaned on my new online support group, I met too many parents whose children didn’t win the battle, some lost in just days. As Megan has slowly recovered, the question lingers: why were we allowed the privilege of bringing her home? I have always been aware of unfairness in the world, but it’s now up close and very real.
I’ve recently been corresponding with some who’ve lost loved ones to this monster, offering a gift of my book about the nature of heaven, in the hope that it may be of some small comfort. I wasn’t prepared for the emotional impact this small gesture would have on me. Parents have spontaneously sent me pictures of their beautiful children, prematurely cut down before they were really allowed to live. Aunts and grandparents described open wounds in their families, as yet unfilled by the passage of time. I suddenly realized that I would have to respond to each of these heartfelt messages, but what do you say to a stranger who has just opened a window onto their grief? I have no wisdom or answers. I have only a deep sympathy and an unshaken belief that there is a God with a plan that we can’t understand. That feels deeply inadequate, but it is all that I have.
I once heard someone compare our understanding of God to our dogs’ understanding of us. They know us and love us, but have no understanding of our actions, our activities, or our lives away from them. An odd analogy, perhaps, but one which works for me. I can’t ever understand why my child, or any parent’s child, must suffer from this horrible disease. I don’t know why my daughter lived when too many others did not. Someday I intend to ask God these questions. But I am rest assured that the answer will make sense and that, most importantly, it will be delivered in love.
“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.” –Robert Fulghum