When Painful Things Happen and You Don’t Understand Why

Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Harriet Cabelly

We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

I used to be a “why” person. Why you ask? Because after receiving my middle daughter’s diagnosis of a neurological condition, I got really hooked into “why me” mode, and it just ate away at every fiber of my core.

I obsessed over “why.” Why did it happen? I needed to make sense out of a senseless fluke of nature.

I was devastated and beside myself with the raging emotions of grief—the anger, bitterness, and resentment—and the dance in my head and the ache in my heart kept circling and banging into the graffitied wall of  W H Y in big black letters.

Here is where I remained for a long year of ranting and raving in a therapist’s office.

I sought out lectures and classes on the famous theme of “why bad things happen to good people.” (As I’m sure you all know, there’s a book by the same title.) I was totally stuck in this place.

I felt so unwound and so out of control that I thought being able to wrap my head around a “real” reason would somehow help me in coping.

I thought if I understood the “why,” I could deal with it better.

I often say and truly believe that if I can understand where someone is coming from, I can more readily and easily accept our differences and disagreements; that this breeds tolerance and respect, and sets the stage to agree to disagree.

I somehow thought this to be similar in my acutely grief-stricken situation—that if I could understand where this came from and why this happened to my baby, I could accept it more easily and therefore cope with it.

I was drowning in this “why me,” read more here