The Unanswerable Question
We recently started getting the newspaper. Shortly after we moved in, a young college kid showed up at our door asking if we wanted to subscribe. Said he couldn’t get any other job so he was going door to door selling subscriptions and delivering the paper. Nice kid. Nervous. He kept shifting his weight from foot to foot, like he was doing a little dance. I haven’t read the paper on a regular basis or watched much mainstream media news in years but I thought the local paper might be a good way to get to know our new home a little better. It took almost a month for it to arrive on a regular basis. I’ve been reading it almost daily for about a week. I don’t know if I can do it much longer.
Shortly after my daughter was born, I stopped watching television. I used to love all the crime shows – could watch Law & Order reruns all day. My favorite plane and beach reads were crime novels or mysteries. Cheesy JD Robb stories, Patricia Cornwell etc etc. I realized I was scared and miserable half the time – particularly when my husband was out of town. My mind would rerun scenes of death and dismemberment as I lay awake, listening to the sounds of my neighborhood. I was scared to set the alarm (in case it went off) and scared not to. I imagined my calls to 911. I realized how ridiculous I was, so I gave it all up. I am a different person because of it. All I can say is “whew”.
The news, though, is full of death. Here are a few of the stories in the last two weeks that have stuck with me. The 19 year old Canadian musician who was attacked by coyotes and died from her wounds. WHAT?! Coyotes? The woman in our community who was killed when her nephew lost control of his car and hit hers. He was following her to work. WHAT?! How does this happen? One of my mom’s close friends who was beaten to death by her son while he was having a psychotic break. There is a town in New York state that is up in arms about emergency room wait times for mental evaluations. Then of course there’s Fort Hood. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?!
The problem is, we don’t have an answer. And now that I’m a parent, all I can think about is the victims’ parents – or children and how much pain they must be in. I mean, how do you deal with the phone call that your daughter was killed by coyotes. It sounds like a horrible, horrible joke. These stories stay with me, they live somewhere in my heart and mind. I feel them. But I don’t want them. They are not mine after all. The only way I can cope these days is to light a candle and wish for a safe journey through grief to peace for all involved.
Sometimes as I watch my daughter sleep, I am gripped by this incredible fear and sadness that she will be taken from me. I wonder if my soul made some contract that I’m unaware of that will send me such pain. I realize it’s simply the vulnerability of loving someone so much combined with a somewhat (okay, very) dramatic mind. I had a therapist once who would listen to me talk about my fears – like one of my parents dying just before my wedding – and with a smile, tell me that would be a great movie role for me but it wasn’t my life.
Those moments of fear are intense. I can understand why so many people turn to religion for answers. I have a mixed pot of spiritual beliefs based on intuition, conversations, books and life experience. I have always believed that we are energy and as such, we simply become another form when our physical bodies can no longer hold us. Quantum physics has begun to tell us this is true. I’ve recently heard the stories of two men who were technically killed (whatever that means) in motorcycle accidents and then came back to life. They didn’t know each other but their stories were eerily similar. One of them described it as “taking off a lead jacket and soaring”.
I don’t know how long I’ll spend in this body, on this planet. I don’t know yet what my full journey will look like, or my daughter’s. I know her spirit wanted to be born as I felt her presence several days before she was conceived. (Call me crazy if you wish). I know that she is a special being, as am I, and there is much we have to give, learn and do. I have a friend who is “awakened” in the Eckhart Tolle sense and we’ve had many discussions about things like this – spirit, energy, death, life. I know that I am here to experience joy. So when my mind goes to that place of fear, I light a candle and for that moment, I let it go.
I still might cancel my newspaper subscription though. Ode Magazine makes me so much happier.