“Why Me? Well…Why not?”
July 1, 2020
When Glen won the first bout with cancer we held a worship service to praise God for healing him. I think it was in that service that Glen shared, “At first I asked God ‘Why me? Why do I have cancer?’ But then I thought, ‘Why not me?’”
I actually don’t remember what he said after that and hopefully sometime I will find what he wrote, if indeed it is written down. Why not? I ask “why” a lot. I ask God “Why? Why did you take him? Why did you leave me here alone to walk the rest of my sojourn here on earth without my Glen? I know you put us together – that much was incredibly obvious! So why did you take him? Lord, it feels like a life sentence to walk without Glen at my side!!”
Of course I get the same answer whispered into my heart and mind every time. “I had need of him up here child. Someday you will see and you will smile at the plan. It is only a little while that it will hurt so much and then you will be here with us. You will see. You are working on the same thing – just from different realms – yet both are entwined.”
Is it comforting? Kind of and kind of not. God isn’t telling me that He’s going to take away the pain and torment of not having Glen here. He is telling me that it will only be for a little while. What “a little while” means is always unsure as it could be a long human, earthly lifetime, or it could be just a little bit in earthly terms – like a few years and then either I die or Jesus comes. I don’t know and I’m not meant to know things like that. I am meant to trust and to trust completely even when I can’t see the full picture, try as I might.
I then go back to the question, “Why not?” Glen asked it. If I remember a little bit of what he said it was along the lines of, “I’m just as good to choose as anyone else for cancer. Many people get cancer so why not me?”
So I need to go along those lines too. I am just a woman sojourning on earth. Though it may feel like no one loved their man as much as me I know that is not true. Yes we had a special and amazing love but others do too. Others have also lost their spouses so I am not unique. I am unique in the “younger” club of being a younger widow yet some have lost the love of their lives at an even younger age – I know some of those people. Does it make it feel any better? Not really. It just means that I now much more fully understand what they went through and admire and respect them even more than I did before (which was already a lot) for having the courage and the strength to keep going.
So why not me? I seem to have lived through a lot of losses in my sojourn already. I have lost my Mom to cancer. I have lost members of my family. By the time I was in my first year of counselling I could already count over twenty people in my life who had passed away. Apparently that is more than the average person by that age. Am I targeted especially? I have often heard, “If you’re under spiritual attack it means you’re doing something right for God.” Well doesn’t that just make you not want to be a warrior for God? Yet I do want to be a warrior for God! And I am – so does that mean I am under more attack than the average person? I don’t know…
I do know that I am also very blessed. I had the absolute gift of an incredible man in my life for over thirty years (including friendship and dating). We would have been married twenty nine years this July 20… We had a really good run. People die all the time. People have good things and bad things happen. It rains on the just and the unjust. I just strive to be the “just” by the grace of God…and I still get rained on. Yet the unjust get rained on and I don’t think they are ever happy in their sins… I’m rambling now. My brain is tired.
Why? Well, I have been thrown back into grief. My body hurts all over. My neck and shoulder muscles have literally seized up. My horse decided he would jump the paddock fence that is over five feet tall because he was terrified of a tractor mowing the field in front of him and probably headed straight for him. He caught his front bad leg and scalped himself exposing ligaments and muscles. It was really gross. His skin was hanging down by his knees… I went into sheer panic and fear when I got the call and was sent the picture of how bad it was. I was in a counselling session with a client and rapidly spiraled from numb to calling the vet to climbing into my truck and bursting into tears begging God to not make me have to put my horse down. I was begging God to let my horse live…just as I begged God to let Glen live…I was re-living the trauma and I knew it. The vet was able to stitch up my precious DeOrro and I cancelled our family trip to Alberta to see Glen’s family and some friends and have literally spent entire days at the barn…just like when Glen needed my care at the hospital and at home… And now my body feels wracked with pain and the inability to even turn my head accompanied by deep exhaustion and lack of sleep…just like when Glen passed away and the lack of sleep continues… being a counsellor means I can identify the reality of my life and sometimes that reality sucks. That reality says, “My goodness girl! Again!? Another crisis? Go easy on yourself as each crisis makes you remember all the others and grieve again, experiencing those grief’s again, and your body feeling the pain … again.” So I know but I do not like it!
DeOrro is being a very good patient for the most part. He is letting me laser his leg sitting on a camping chair beside him or even right in front of him, or following him around as he eats grass – which is why my neck is seizing up from looking down a lot. He is allowing me to ice his leg. Today he was really being cheeky and nibbling on my hat, on the chair or leaning his head on me…very cute. He just stands there as I take care of him as he seems to know that I’m there to help. He also was cheeky in that he wanted to walk very fast when I tried to get him moving (a huge improvement over a few days ago when he could barely walk!). Movement is good because he’s developed edema in his lower leg and he needs the movement to encourage circulation so obviously he’s feeling good but I can’t allow him to move too fast or he’ll bust open his stitches. So all in all I think he will heal just fine. I am grateful that God is answering this prayer in my favor.
Even as I write that I know it’s wrong. Just because God allowed Glen to be taken from me early doesn’t mean that God is not for me. It doesn’t mean that Glen wasn’t healed – he was very thoroughly healed and is much more alive than we are right now. Just because Glen is gone and I didn’t get what I considered to be my miracle (Glen staying on earth with me) does not mean that God didn’t answer in my favor. I just don’t understand all the ways or all the decisions that God makes. There is heartache here on earth. What I am left with is this: Will I choose to glorify God no matter what as Job did? Or will I ask “why me?” pounding my chest in agony? I choose, because life is all about choice, I choose to say, “Why not me?” I choose to glorify God even in my heartache and pain. I choose to follow the example of my dear beloved husband. Why not me…? And I will lift my hands and praise God anyway.
Addendum: September 7, 2020
It has been a rough summer of nursing my horse DeOrro and riding other horses a little… not enough but at least enough to get out. I had and perhaps still am thrown back into grief with the triggers of nursing someone again. The vet has now informed me, after patiently and regularly coming out to check on DeOrro, that he was very close to death. If the wound had been two inches lower it would have hit a major artery and he would have bled out or we would have had to put him down. If the circulation in his lower leg had not taken we would have had to put him down. I numbly knew this at the time which is why I spent so much time there with my laser and ice and moving him around – so he would live. I am thankful that he did live and though I am still nursing his wound it is slowly healing – even the part where the mass of stitches ripped out.
Being thrown back into grief when you’re not even quite through grief is draining and stressful. I write this not for pity. I write and blog it for the public so that more people can have an understanding of grief. This piece is for understanding of the how grief hits the body – HARD! It is also for understanding that it’s ok to ask “Why” and it’s ok to ask “Why not” to help us take a few steps towards healing and moving forward. To perhaps move us towards acceptance in some small way. I’m getting there, yet I’m not there yet. There are a million steps forward (or more) and so many more triggers that pull one backwards. If you know me, or someone like me, who has gone through loss – be patient and empathetic with them. Grief of someone so dear is difficult and life changing. Your words of love and encouragement, your gifts of time, adventure and food together, your gift of helping someone around the house with what seems like mundane tasks but to the bereaved person is like climbing into a tornado and climbing a mountain at the same time – these gifts are what keep us going minute by minute and day by day as we slowly adjust to life alone. Please stand by those people that you know.
I am alone for the first time. Completely and totally alone as I now experience empty nest with both boys moved out. When Glen was here it was a time of celebration that we looked forward to launching our boys into manhood. While I rejoice with them both (also knowing it’s transitional and they may be back and forth a bit) I also grieve that I am alone. With Glen it was fun. Now, it’s just alone. Lord, may that not take away from me rejoicing with my precious sons!
May we all find the Lord close as we walk our journeys together and alone. He is here with us always and will never leave us nor forsake us. I cling to this.
Glen shared, “At first I asked Why me? But then I thought, why not me?”