Don't give me what I can handle because I cannot handle it!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Someone gave me a copy of the book "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" at Max's shiva.  I was so mad at g-d, I was really interested to read what possible explanation there could be for what happened to Max, the BEST of the "good people".  I read a few pages and realized quickly that this book was going to let g-d off the hook!  Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote the book to ensure that we don't blame g-d.  The whole premise of the book was to say that the bad things that happen, don't happen because of g-d, but in spite of g-d.  Sorry.  That is a hard pill for me to swallow.  I have got a lot of blame for g-d.  (Notice, I am back to writing his name in the Jewish way.  I am a flip flopper).  No way was I going to read that book!  Absolutely not.  For some reason, this happened to Max and Ted and I and not to some asshole.  In fact, when I meet the mothers (only because I haven't met any SIDS fathers yet) or read the blogs of parents whose children have died, I am astounded to find that the second thing we all have in common is how devoted we all were as parents....even Rabbi Kushner!  It is as if the good people are at a higher risk than the crack heads.  WTF G-D????!!!!  I just had coffee with my neighbor Melissa, whose daughter died of SIDS.  She is the most lovely person you could ever hope to meet.  She is sweet, a devoted wife, smart, a totally devoted mother.....she is a wonderful person.  Need I remind anyone that she GAVE ME HER JOURNAL!?  Most people cannot say, "I am so sorry about Max".  Hell, most people cannot say "Max".  But this woman gave me her journal.  Granted, she has suffered my loss so she doesn't have to feel weird around me.  But, that is BEYOND the call of duty - as there is no actual call of duty.  Just because you have lost a child doesn't actually mean that you have to reach out to other people who have.  So, why Melissa?  Why her daughter Marley?  Why the Spohrs? Why me?  Why Ted?  Why Maxie?  Sorry, I am still mad at g-d.  At Max's shiva, a few people (of course) let me know that "G-d doesn't give you anything that you can't handle".  What an asinine thing to say to a grieving parent.  If you learn nothing else from this blog, please learn that you should never say that to anyone.  Even if there is a small percentage of people who actually feel better hearing this, most people DO NOT want to hear this and so you will be better off just saying, "I am so sorry about Max (or whoever you are sorry about)".  Did Max die because G-d decided that Ted and I were SO strong?  F*@# that!  Seriously?  Another blogging mom posted a photo of an art piece she found that said "God doesn't give us what we can handle.  God helps us to handle what we are given".  As a response to the stupidest platitude known to a griever (aka - g-d only gives you what you can handle), I like this.  But, as the premise of a book (When Bad Things Happen to Good People), I do not.  G-d should know better than to end the lives of BABIES!  He/She is G-D afterall!  Perhaps I could buy the whole argument of G-d putting us on earth and giving us free will and that when we are evil or neglectful or bad to our own bodies that there might be murders or injuries or diseases that result.  It doesn't make it right, but at least I could rationalize it.  But, when a perfectly decent and GOOD person becomes ill with disease or dies instantly - What The F*@#!?   I have a beautiful cousin with a devoted husband, and a little boy who died after fighting a long battle with cancer several years ago.  She was funny and warm and smart and a mother!  I do not let g-d off the hook!  I have two relatives with cancer right now - they are mothers, they have both lost too much already (a twin and a husband), they are important and wonderful and necessary on this earth!  I do not let g-d off the hook for them either.  I was hoping to find some meaning, as all grievers hope to find.  And, I suppose it is my own fault for not fully giving myself to religion early in life.  If I just BELIEVED, then I could find comfort in g-d.  But, I can't even tell you if Judaism believes in an afterlife.  I really don't think Jews believe in heaven.  And, if they do, they don't talk about it like the Christians do.  If you are Christian then you believe that you just do good on earth and then you go to heaven.  If you are Jewish, you believe that you do good, not because you will be rewarded but because doing good is the RIGHT thing to do.  Maybe we need some more bribes.  When the sky falls in on you, it is hard not to get a little selfish and wonder (or at least I am wondering), "why the hell did I focus on doing good?  where the hell did this get me?".  And, I am not saying I am a "good" person.  But, what I can confidently say is that I have DONE GOOD.  I have campaigned for affordable housing, senior care, equal rights, I have catalogued the testimonies of Holocaust survivors, I have spent countless hours volunteering on numerous projects, I give money to many charities every year (supporting Israel, supporting water projects in Africa, supporting children, supporting gorillas, supporting public radio, supporting cancer research, supporting wildlife.....), I spent two years organizing, educating and raising awareness around the genocide in Darfur (and so I KNOW that g-d is unjust because these people have been murdered and raped for living in rural villages and minding their own business).  Again, it isn't that I think I am a saint (you can go back and read about all of the stupid and "bad" stuff I have done as well in one of my original posts....and it isn't even a complete listing), but I have done good.  I have done right by my Jewish faith.  Can someone please tell me what it is that I am missing?  What I always loved about Judaism is that we weren't doing good just to be rewarded.  It wasn't about earning the prize.  Judaism seemed like a model for the way I would want to raise my children - to be good people, not so that they could earn a piece of candy or a toy, but so that they would feel good about themselves that they were doing good.  But, as a parent I certainly would never kick my kid in the face after they did a good deed.  (Obviously, I wouldn't kick my kid if they did a bad thing either but I am using the example for emphasis).  Why did g-d choose to kick us in the face?  If you know the story of Job in the Old Testament, you know that we are taught that G-d does sometimes kick a good person in the face.  In fact Job was the best of the best and G-d took everything from him (including his wife and children) on a bet.  It has been four months today since Max stopped breathing at day care.  I have no more answers today than I did four months ago.  It is still very early in the grieving process for us (especially considering it is a life long process).  I often think that my days of being good might be over.  I have been trying to convince Ted that we should rob a bank.  I mean, why the hell not really?  Upside - we get a whole bunch of money.  Downside - we go to prison or get shot.  Seems like now is the time to take this risk.  If not a bank, then maybe a convenient store or something. Yes? No? Thoughts?  I know what you are thinking because I am thinking it too.  A person who might be prone to panic attacks may not be the best candidate for a new career as a bank robber.  I'll see if I can get those under control first and then come back to this plan.  In the meantime, I am looking for some answers over here and not getting much.  If you think you can help a sister out, I am all ears.


Anonymous said...

I posted on fb about this yogi who said that everything that has happened has happened for a reason (good AND BAD!!)We may not know what it is, and we may never know the answer "why" but that if we can accept that there may be no answer to "why", then we can find peace. I wanted to leap acoss the room and punch him in the face. Even if Maxie's forest brings great joy to hundreds of people, who cares? It would be better if Maxie was here. It's the same way that I cannot fathom that my father's suicide was meant to happen.,.meant to be. the hardest/stupidest thing this yogi said is we may never know "why" and that once we accept that we will be able to accept peace.(and he smiled like a lunatic the whole time. Not that he didn't experience grief but holy cow, I wish I could surrender in such a way!) This PISSED ME OFF because I will never understand how a baby's death was meant to be, or how a father could commit suicide and leave his daughter's phone number for the police to find when his own brother is a police officer in that town. Are you kidding me? WTF is up with the world? Abby- you are not alone. You are unique in your grief, but not alone. I hope you know that, though we cannot know your grief specifically, you are not alone.

maria said...

I wish so much I could give you an answer to this. I've even wondered, 'how do you make sense of this'...I don't think you do. I'm not to pleased with HIM either. I think I'd be reading the same books you're reading, or seeing mediums, it's the only thing close to trying to understand this, or to try and get closer to Max. Even I want answers to this, I can only imagine how much you want answers.

Tallie Fishburne said...

I have no answers, and the list of questions gets longer as I age. But just as Melissa trusted you with her journal, so you are trusting us with your thoughts and feelings in this blog. I'm grateful that you trust me enough with your deepest thoughts and most private feelings to let me walk with you in grief. xox

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