“How come kids with cancer,
prayers get no answer?
Do you hear their mothers when they ask,
‘Why God why does my child have to die?’
Staring at a vacant sky beginning to cry
Can you hear that? Do you feel that?
This is real rap, God doesn’t hear crap.”
——Letter to God, Reezin the Revolutionary, Charles Aubrey Rogers
Other family’s children are doing well. Why wasn’t my youngest child?
My child is addicted. My child has a mental illness. My chid is dead.
I remember scrolling through Facebook and seeing other kids go to the senior prom. My son was still in a therapeutic boarding school, not doing well. Later, kids he’d gone to school with graduated from high school.
I avoided social media. It seemed everyone’s children were moving forward. Except for my youngest child. I longed for and ached for a normal life. What came so easily to everyone else’s family, was a distant fantasy for ours. How I longed for it. We’d left “normal” years prior.
Then after he died, seeing the support other parents got for children with other illnesses and comparing it to the judgment and gossip we got, made me angry.
Comparison really is the thief of joy. Feeling that I was robbed is natural. It wasn’t helpful, however, and I didn’t want to live a life of bitterness. And when those resentments would peek into my consciousness, I had to acknowledge it and then ask myself if Charles would want me to live this way. And then I had to write about it in an emotionally naked way.
Was it unfair what happened to us? That we lost our son to addiction and then suicide? Yes, it is. But what about the mom who lost her whole family, spouse, and two children in a car accident? What about the family who lost their home in a flood? What about the parents who have two severely disabled children? Why do any of us think we are immune to tragedy? Or that someone else prayed better than we did and they were granted a more beautiful life? What about people who lived in abject poverty and didn’t have running water or food?
I couldn’t look at just what those who were doing well, I needed to look at what others didn’t have, too, in order to be fair. If I always looked up, I’d always be disappointed and for that, I needed to widen my lens.
Know that it’s natural to feel that way. But recognize the feeling, label it, and pledge to find your way out of that mousetrap. Eventually, you’ll work your way out of it. Like I did.