Grief Journal: Never Knowing

I’ve written about the fact that I don’t know what happens when we die. I’d like to believe we go on somehow as ourselves, but I just can’t know for sure and I’m okay with that.

No matter what happens once we are gone, I’m sure that while we are here, we are required to make the world a better place somehow. To rage against entropy by being kind, or courageous, or loving, or creative—anything that brings light into the world and fights against the dark.

There’s a part of me that also suspects we are here to learn something—a lesson that’s important in some way, either for the fight against the heat death of the universe or just for ourselves, our own soul’s growth (assuming we go on). 

My main lesson seems to be that you can never truly know someone else. 

In my life, people I’ve loved have betrayed and hurt me in fundamental ways, ways that have scarred me but also helped me grow and evolve. In each case, someone I thought I knew did something I didn’t expect or understand. I couldn’t fit it into my mental image of them. In each case, it was because I was choosing to see what I wanted to see, not what was right in front of me. The universe needed to drop an anvil on me, because I am so stubborn the usual slap on the head didn’t make a difference.

I really thought  had learned this lesson, but then Charlie died. I am well aware he didn’t do what he did to hurt me, or anyone else. So in this sense, it’s different. Yet, I can’t help but notice that once again, I didn’t truly understand.

I knew that child as only a loving mother can. Although my husband had a great, loving relationship with him, they were so much alike that I think the similarities clouded the very real differences and how they related to each other. 

I saw Charlie. I loved Charlie, unconditionally. I knew Charlie.

Or so I thought. I honestly believed he wasn’t capable of hurting himself. We had talked so often about depression and anxiety. We had many heart-to-hearts about how to control impulsiveness, and why acting on your first idea is never a good plan. I thought I knew what he could and couldn’t do.

I was wrong. Once again, the universe is showing me you can never really know another person. 

Hey, Universe—why? Why do I need to learn this lesson again? I got it the first three times, I swear. After that last betrayal, I really understood, deep in my bones, that people are who they are, not who we want them to be.

I didn’t need to learn that not even the most fierce, loving mother can know what’s inside our children’s heads and hearts. I’ll never know what he was thinking or feeling. I’ll never know if I did something, or didn’t do something. I’ll never know why he’s gone. 

I just know I miss him more than words can express.

One thought on “Grief Journal: Never Knowing

  1. I hope you will understand what I am going to say.
    God is not trying to teach you a lesson!
    A preacher at the funeral of my second cousin started his message this way, “Life is not fair”.
    My late mother once told me that a parent should never outlive their child.
    I know what grief can do to a person. I went through a terrible time of depression when my maternal grandmother died.
    I do not know the type of grief you are suffering, but, I can say I will be praying for you and yours.


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