Faith vs. Beliefs

When I was a child, I was obsessed with the stars.  I loved the exercise of charting the constellations.  I would sit in our backyard and stare up at the sky and think about how each of those stars was its own sun and perhaps each one was the center of its own solar system and perhaps there were planets rotating, just like ours, around several of those suns, and MAYBE just MAYBE, there was a little girl on one of those planets charting constellations from a different view.  Maybe our sun was the North Star from where she sat.  It seemed to me that with an infinite number of stars and planets that stretched out for eternity, there must be another star somewhere that had planets rotating at the exact perfect distance to have the exact perfect atmosphere to support life someplace else.  I have thought that always.  On my college senior year houseboat trip on Lake Mead, I was convinced that if I just looked long enough at the sky, eventually I would see something.  I sat on the back of the boat with five or so friends staring at the perfectly clear night waiting for our UFO sighting.  It's possible that we smoked some pot that night.  By the way, my dad recently told me that he feels the exact opposite.  That with so many stars and planets, he feels there is no way possible that life could exist the way it does here.  It's statistics, right?  The exact perfect conditions for something so unlikely to occur....but it does anyway. Like life on SIDS.  But, really, I meant to write more about the unknown (because you know I love the unknown).  You may think this is something new - my interest in the unknown. It is not.  As obsessed as I was with stars as a child, I was ten times more obsessed with the Loch Ness monster.  Perhaps one of my parents could explain to you how I even knew what it was.  I had National Geographic clippings of fuzzy Loch Ness photos covering the walls of my "playroom".  I was sure he existed.  So what if nobody had found him yet?  Didn't scientists continue to have new species of animals all of the time?  There had to be a reason that people keep seeing him.  It still drives me crazy that he has not yet been found.  In college I befriended a guy who I haven't seen since, who knows that when he was a kid, he saw Bigfoot.  He was camping with his family and I don't remember the story exactly, but I think he went to take a pee in the woods and he saw Bigfoot.  This friend was no Pitzer pothead either, he went to Pomona on a scholarship (sorry Pitzer friends, but you know outsiders are more impressed by our neighbors).  I never knew his story until I ran into him one night at the Marlin Club - a dive bar on Catalina Island - while I was there one summer with my family.  He was working that summer for a scientist on the island, studying Bigfoot material or legends or sightings or something (I don't actually remember so well....did I mention that I ran into him at this dive bar?)  Anyway, the point is that he was smart and successful and believed in a creature that was considered laughable to most people.  Since Max died, my brain keeps wandering back to the places where I get to see him again (Max, not Carlos the Bigfoot hunter).  Will I see him in dreams?  Will he continue to speak to me through a medium?  Will I "get" to have a Near Death Experience and reunite with him only to have him tell me that it is not my time yet and then return me to my body?  Will I learn to communicate with him myself?  Am I crazy?  Yes.  I don't want to wait until I die to find out if I get to be with Max again.  And, if I die and nothing happens then I am just dead.  Ted says I should just BELIEVE that we will be reunited again.  I guess then if I die and nothing happens, I will be dead and therefore, not disappointed.  I wish it were good enough for me.  I have faith but I am not sure that I believe.  Does that make sense?  For some reason, I still BELIEVE that if the universe stretches on for eternity that somewhere there has to be another intelligent life form.  In fact, there is no doubt in my mind.  It annoys me actually that I believe in that though, because I don't care about that.  I want to believe in Max.  I guess I would not spend so much time thinking about how to memorialize him appropriately if I didn't believe that he could see.  I must believe that he knows we are doing everything for him.  He must know how much we love him.  I have enough faith to keep me going minute by minute but I am looking for the belief that is going to last me through this lifetime.  Can anyone help me out?  Seriously?  What do you believe?


Meg said...

I'm so sorry if this is in any way inappropriate, but there's a blog authored by a woman whose infant son has a terminal illness, and she writes in great depth about her struggle in finding meaning in tragedy. I thought it might be helpful to you. It's

She also wrote a really incredible article investigating how/why a merciful God can let terrible things happen, which is here:

I don't even know her--she's the friend of a friend--but she's a beautiful, insightful writer.

Jamie Evan Holden said...

I believe in Heaven. Call it naive or childish, but I genuinely do. I believe each person's heaven is a little different, meaning that Max's heaven is full of monkeys and stories and cozy blankets and your grandparents who look after him for you....All of the things that would bring him comfort. I also believe that he sees you, hears you, and feels you...That he knows how much you love and miss him with literally every breath you take. I didn't used to believe in this, but I lost someone close to me who sends me signs all the time that he is there, watching, hearing, loving, and being loved by me. Maybe I believe that because it is too awful not to, but whatever the reason, I choose to think of it this way. Maxie will be waiting for you, and until you see him again, I guess you will have to rely mediums and signs will connect you to your boy. Those are poor fill ins for holding your sweet boy in your arms, but they are better than nothing and can help remind you that he knows you are right here loving him.

Yael said...

I believe in Olam Haba - the next life. I believe that your soul is forever connect with Maxie's. That when we die we aren't just gone - we go to the next step... what ever that may be... I believe that Max knew exactly how much you and Ted loved him and that he is out there watching over you... I can't tell you how sad I am for the two of you - but I do believe that at the end what ever that may be - you will be reunited with him.

believe said...

I have always woken up after someone who has past and been comforted they were in my dream. My friends father past and their medium said it was "a visit." I really do believe that. I am sure you are having many many dreams of Maxie, but I do believe it could be his way of helping you when he can. Not the dreams of being frantic and trying to find him, etc...but the ones where you might catch a glimpse or you are with him. I believe there is something behind those dreams. At least I want to believe there one can tell you that is not true. Cherish those dreams of your little boy.

Kathleen said...

Dear Abby,
I want to comment, but I am a bit reluctant to, as I have not experienced the great physical loss of a child of mine to SIDS. So, I don't know if I should be writing here. I have not had the pleasure of meeting you in person. I am an old high school friend of Ted's. I'm pretty private, so sharing on a blog is out of my comfort zone, but I want to only share comfort. I read some of your blog only with heartfelt compassion.

I've seen "life," "spirit" leave some living beings' bodies. I miss dearly some who are no longer physically with me. I believe in the spirit and "spiritual realm," and not because any text tells me to. It's difficult to articulate, perhaps because of the unknown, intangible elements. I nurture my spiritual relationships. I can connect on that level with any of them whenever I choose to. It's not the same. It's not as comforting or joyful, but I believe in it.

My grandmother lost her first son unexpectedly, but not to SIDS and he was older than Maxie. I grew up knowing all about him. His presence was felt. I was with my grandmother when she was passing. She lived a long, full life (she had three other children). She was elderly, couldn't speak anymore, her neck, body wasn't mobile at all...she was afraid, though. I comforted her, "prayed" with her and told her she was going to be reunited with her first son. A few minutes before she transitioned, she lifted her head staring into my eyes and smiled at me. A nurse was present and witnessed this. Shortly after, I think she visited me in a dream to say thank you.

I have seen pictures of Maxie and think he is - as you already know - adorable and so precious. I was honored to be able to contribute to his forest. From what I've read, I think you are a beautiful, loving, nurturing mother, wife, and woman. I believe in mothering a spirit and being reunited in a way my human mind (while may be very intelligent) is too limited to comprehend.

Warmest wishes to you and your family.