After our income fell drastically, we moved into a one-bedroom apartment at a great location; it’s only a 20 minute walk to Anisha’s school. However, it is not a big, character home like the ones her two best friends live in. Recently she said, “I wish we lived in a big house like my friends.” I can’t describe how hard the reduced income has been on me. For me it’s a lot harder than for my daughter because she doesn’t know any better since she doesn’t recall our previous home. I know I should not compare families. Various parent friends have told me, “Nothing good comes from comparing your family to other families. I know all of this, yet I still get frustrate when I see, or at least I think I see, other people enjoying easier lives.
I know I shouldn’t, but how can I not compare when I go to pick up Anisha and I feel like I am walking into a small mansion. I know life isn’t really about big houses. Eastern philosophy tells me not to get attached to the material objects and that the material world is just an illusion. Okay, I get it, but aren’t some people’s lives easier because they have a higher income? My daughter and I live in the material world and in the material world money matters. Piano lessons, soccer, swimming and skating are tangible and require tangible payment. Money issues definitely trigger a Woe is Me mentality for me.
Why do bad things happen to good people? Am I a good person? People tell me that I am a good person for taking care of my father-in-law, mother in-law and wife before they died. People also say that I am a good person because I am there for my daughter each and every day. But, what does a so called “good” person look like? If I told these people that I looked forward to my wife’s death, and even hoped it would come sooner, I bet they wouldn’t call me a “good” person. They would say my behavior was bad and that my selfishness may have contributed to her illness and subsequent death. Therefore, these people would call me a “bad” person. And then, I could get them to call me “good” again if I took the time and patience to explain that looking forward the death of a loved one is not uncommon, it’s just not talked about openly. How fickle people and their definition of “good” versus “bad” are!
Besides, does it even matter if I am a “good” or “bad” since life tends to be so random. When bad things happen, we scream out loud, “Why me! I don’t deserve this, I am a good person!” But, the fact that life is so random means that there is no logical reason for grief—no one is passing judgement and saying, “You deserve to be punished, but you others do not.” So when I ask myself, “Why me? Why is this happening to me?” The only answer is, “Why not me? What makes me so sacred that I cannot be touched by the claws of grief?” No one deserves grief, but no one deserves to avoid it either.