Commentary: Sometimes We Don’t Know Why


Life is unfair.

So, too, is death.

We all like to think that good things happen to good people, and many of us espouse that philosophy on a regular basis.

The fact is that bad things also happen to good people.

When those instances occur, the natural inclination is to question: why did it happen, what could have been done differently, how can we prevent re-occurrences?

Why do some people live to be over 100 and others are gone before they are teen-agers?

The questions are good ones, but the answers are not.

Except for the cases where a natural disaster is involved, or a tragic accident occurred, answers are non-existent.

It can be impossible to pinpoint the ‘why.’

Think about how much of our life we control.

We can pick our friends and where we live.

We have a say in the type of work we do and our leisure pursuits.

We can select vacation sites and the mode of travel to reach those destinations.

With few exceptions, we can’t control the end of our life.

We can schedule regular doctor appointments, take prescribed medications, exercise and eat healthy, but there are no guarantees any of that will keep us around to the next day.

Death will inevitably affect all of us.

If the person who has passed had reached a certain age, we try to comfort the mourners by taking about a life well lived.

If the person who passed was a child, we talk about allowing the memory to live on.

We speak with good intentions and a kind and caring heart, yet it’s the actions that are often more meaningful than the actual words.

Knowing others care, knowing there is the love and support of others, helps mourners realize they are not alone.

There is a community — sometimes a literal one, sometimes small groups within the village — that will be available to talk or listen or share.

Nothing will reverse what has happened, nothing will change the pain that will linger and flare up at random times.

But, no one should have to deal with tragedies alone.

So often we hear about devastating events that take place on another coast or in another country and then we go back to our day’s activities. Then suddenly we wake up to learn something unthinkable happened where we live, and to a good family, and that’s when it hits home.

Life truly is unfair.

None of us are immune. Maybe we get through this day, this week, this month, this year.

One day, our lives — or our families’ lives — will be shattered because of who is no longer with us. It will be too late to give that extra hug, to offer that friendly greeting, to make that phone call to a relative or a friend who is elsewhere.

The kindness we show to those who are grieving is essential, but the kindness we display on a daily basis to those not in obvious need is equally important.

We can’t heal the hurt, but we can help to start healing the broken heart.

We can be strong so others don’t feel weak.

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