Wednesday, May 16, 2007




My vacuum wasn’t working right this past weekend and I couldn’t find where I put the manual.  Hey, there’s always Google.  Which is exactly where I found my vacuum’s website and their troubleshooting section.  As I was navigating the website, I could feel that I was getting closer to my particular issue with each passing click of the mouse.  Then I hit the FAQ’s section.  Most of us are familiar with this section of what seems all customer service areas.  FAQ’s are Frequently Asked Questions.  It seems most subjects have these FAQ’s.  If one has the patience, you can usually find your question and the matching answer.  If all else fails, you can still contact customer service. 


Grief isn't so different.  There seems to be some commonalities among grievers.  This isn’t a bad thing, because it lets the griever know that they are not alone, that they are not going crazy, that they are not weird.  One common theme among grievers is the question “why?”  “Why” for a lot of reasons.  Why did my loved one die?  Why didn’t the doctors diagnose this sooner?  Why didn’t I push to get them to thedoctor?  Why didn’t I see the signs?  Why didn’t I do things differently? And the biggest Why?  Why did God let this happen?  Why does God let children get sick and why does he let them die?  Why did God take my loved one?  Why couldn’t God take me instead?  Why would God take a parent away from a child?  Why would God take many people in one family?  And one death after another?  There are so many questions directed towards God, and I often hear, “When I get to heaven, I’m going to have a little chat with God and find out why he did all these things.” 


I couldn’t help imagining that God is up there sitting on a throne, and there is a line of people stretching longer than the eye can see, disappearing into the clouds.  They are all there to ask their “why.”  However, a lot of the questions are similar where it pertains to the loss of a loved one.  So being the busy guy that he is, he probably would have a list of FAQ’s.  I also imagine the FAQ’s are posted on the pearly gates, so that before you enter heaven you would check the list to see if your question has been answered already before heading off into the line.  Another counselor told me that she believes that our loved ones become spirit and that when you become spirit, the need to have your questions answered disappears.  Almost as if once you become spirit, you have an all-knowing and understanding of what your life was and all the “whys.”  Whatever it is, I do know that there are a lot of unanswered questions when we lose a loved one.  Some questions we will never have the answers for in our lifetime, and there is no customer service to bail us out.


Part of the grief process is coming to some sort of terms with this and being able to move forward.  It’s human nature to want to know the answers to our questions.  We crave understanding to be able to accept what has happened in our lives.  Loss, in particular, is something we don’t want to accept.  For me, to accept something means that I’m ok with it.  People are rarely “ok” with losing a loved one.  I prefer to say that part of the grief process is learning to live with the loss, or assimilating the loss into your life.  Whenever you “learn” about something, you change and grow.  Learning to assimilate the loss into your life is no different.  We never forget the loved ones who have died, but it does change you and you do grow as a person from the experience.  If your question isn’t on the FAQ list, you have to learn to assimilate the loss into your life without the answers and without customer service.


Please be gentle with yourself,




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