Id like to write today about the concept of being or feeling “blessed” or “lucky”, what these terms mean to me personally, and how people’s views about faith directly affect their grief thoughts.
I know and I respect that each of us has varying and different views on faith, God, and religion. Generally speaking, I think that people should believe whatever it is that helps them get through the day and get through life with the least amount of horrifying pain, and they should practice or not practice whatever belief system or guide brings them the most peaceful existence. I also strongly believe that people’s feelings about something are rarely “wrong.” They are your feelings and emotions, so how can that be wrong? I think its important and vital that we validate the person who believes in nothing, in the same way that we tend to do so with those who are religious.
Now, before you start making assumptions based on the top two paragraphs about what it is that I believe, I will tell you. My belief system is simple. I do believe in God. However, for me, the word “God” is a concept. It’s a way of living. For me, it’s not about a Grand Plan or Heaven and Hell, or a Bible or a cross, or going to church, or a rigid set of rules to follow that is often laced by guilt. For me, God is kindness. God is all good things. God is Love. I believe there is some kind of force or higher power, but I prefer to think of it as nature’s miracle. Sometimes I refer to this as God, but usually not. I believe in a universe where energy cannot be destroyed and therefore, lives forever in each of us, long after we die. I believe in science and facts, and science supports these ideas. I believe we should treat people well, try not to judge, and try to carry some empathy for each other. When people ask me what is my religion, I say: “My religion is to be Kind, to collect and give love, and to share it forward with those who need it.” That’s it. It really is that simple for me.
That being said, I do not believe in the type of God that is sitting up somewhere in a cloud or past some Pearly Gates, judging us, forgiving us, and deciding over and over again who lives and dies. I do not believe things happen for a reason. I believe that often times, there is no reason, other than that death happens to everyone. I do not believe in “Gods Plan” or “Gods will”, and I do not believe I need to be saved by Jesus. Every day that Im alive, I figure out more ways to save myself. I grow. I learn. I live.
In this widowed version of life, Ive run into a lot of people who use the word “blessed” toward themselves, or toward me. Six years after my husband’s death, I have found love again. There are people who say that I am so “blessed” or that Im “lucky” to have found this again. I don’t believe in blessed. To me, it implies “chosen” – that some higher power chose me to have happiness again. That would mean that they chose me over you, or over some other person who really would love some happiness. I cannot believe this, in the same way that I will NEVER believe that a 5 year old girl who gets hit by a drunk driver and dies, was “meant to die” because it was “her time”, or God’s Plan. Or God needed her or whatever else people say. No. That girl died because a person made the choice to drink and then drive. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is a tragedy. An absolute, horrible, terrible tragedy.
Now, if that girl’s mom or dad chooses to take that tremendous loss and use it to help other parents who have lost a child, if they take their pain and create something that is good and decent and powerful with it – that was their choice to do that, and trust me, it took a LOT of hard, hard work for them to get to a place to be able to do such a thing. And they probably fight battles within themselves every day, and it takes massive courage to do something such as this – so to dismiss all that tough work and to tell people such as this, that their child died because of some plan, or that they died so that they could become more evolved people or something – its insulting to the parents. The choices they made after their child’s tragic death, are exactly that – choices. To take the death of someone you love, and use it to educate people about something or teach them or offer knowledge about something – is not something everyone would be capable of doing. Its astounding.
Now, if those same parents happen to believe in God’s plan, or that their daughter is in a better place now, or that everything happens for a reason, and those beliefs are what bring them the most amount of peace, then that is wonderful. Who am I to impose my beliefs on them, when they are the ones suffering and living in that reality daily? I would never do that. Just because I don’t believe in Gods plan, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. And just because Im not a believer in Christ and Jesus the same way you are, it does NOT mean there is something wrong with me, or I need to be saved or prayed for. There is nothing wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with you. We do whatever works for us. We shouldn’t impose or force our beliefs on others. Im not sure why that is so hard for so many people.
I have been told, often, that because I found love again after Don’s death, that Im blessed. “You should be grateful. Youre so blessed.” Well, Im grateful to be alive, because my dead husband doesn’t have that option – but beyond that, everything that I have and everything that I GROW, is because of me. It is because I have spent the past 6 years healing myself from trauma, grief, pain, loss, and death. I have spent over 3 years in grief counseling sessions, and opened myself up in countless ways to be broken apart and to analyze and sit inside my pain and dissect it and understand it. Im the one who had to drag my ass out of bed when I wanted to die instead. Im the one who had to figure out how the hell does my life work now, with no Don in it. Im the one who had to reinvent and reshape and rebuild myself, into something new and different and strange. I did that. Yes, I had a wonderful supportive family and many great friends helping me along the way, and Im VERY grateful for them, but in the end, I made the choices every single day to try and live, and live with purpose and love.
Life happens. Death happens. Tragedies and illnesses happen. Every day. When they happen to us, in our own little corner of our world, they are forever altering and devastating. Death and loss change you forever. Death changes you forever. But HOW you are changed, is ultimately up to you. It takes years and years of work to figure all this out, as it did me. So please don’t say Im blessed or lucky. Im not. Im directly responsible for all the events that have led up to me being in a place to find love again. I went through the heartbreaks. I put myself out there again, and again, after each new time my heart shattered. And, Im the one who decided to let love in again, even though Im terrified every minute of each day, that I could lose everything, all over again, and that one day, he will die.
I made these choices. I worked hard for them. I own everything I do in life, good and bad. So for all my very hard work of grieving and healing, and for all the many layers of evolving I have been through and continue to go through – I am not blessed or lucky. I am wide awake, I am determined, and I am a force of life.
Let someone else be blessed.
Ill just be over here making things happen.