Why me?

by +CrystalThieringer    @cdthieringer

Every so often my sister or my niece posts a picture of my nephew. It comes across my news feed, stabs my heart with a fierce bit of remembering I hadn’t expected that day. That initial fire is often followed by a soothing memory.

  • I was there when he had the cupcake war.
  • I heard the story of the skateboarding.
  • He gave the best neck hugs, didn’t he?

Photo courtesy Cynthia Plett

Sometimes it hurts for a long while, the pain is deep and fiery and I can’t hold back the sobs of loss when it feels as though it didn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t have been that way. There is so much wrong in how and why and where he died and I hate it. The sneak-attack days of not expecting to see his face are hard, though not as hard as they used to be.

On such a day a few months ago, a friend posted a picture of her little boy climbing trees just as his grandmother did. He looks serious in the photo, staring down to the camera lens as he grasps a small branch to balance with, as though it’s his flag staking claim to Everest.  This picture delights me, because before he was born, his ultrasound showed a big old tumour on his back, and no one knew how bad it would be. It was months of guessing what it could be.

Then he arrived, and only a flabby bit of skin remained where the tumour had been. Now he’s a goofy, joke-loving, life-living tree-climber.

It’s easy to be reminded of what we’ve lost. It’s easier still to feel as though we have a right to hold tight to the bitter pain of that loss, to shake our white-knuckled fists at God, forcing out the strangled words, “why me?”

It’s harder to remember that tree-climbers have to fight for joy too. How else could they pull themselves up on the branches but to let go of whatever they held so tightly? Who knows, below there might be a momma with a camera, smiling at Everest, whispering the same grateful words, “why me?”


9 thoughts on “Why me?

  1. Mmmm…”How else could they pull themselves up on the branches but to let go of whatever they held so tightly?” That whole last paragraph! The blessings are as question-worthy as the pains.

    1. Yes, Ros–the blessings are as question-worthy as the pains. Thanks for understanding that!

  2. I suppose we could also ask “why not me?” Who can understand the mind of God? He disappoints me. He thrills me. No matter how many times I let go, He never does. But I’ll never get why He allows such pain and when He does, how He brings amazing things out of it. I’m exhausted. Thanks for a thought provoking post, Crystal.

    1. You know more than many of us how poignant the question is, Pam. I wish there was a way to ease your exhaustion from here. Love to you.

  3. Beautiful, Crystal. Whenever someone posts a picture of my sister, it hits me in the gut. I don’t think “Why me?” though; I think, “Why her?” Why was my optimistic, intelligent, kindhearted, sister who helped people so often called home? Why did she have to suffer so much? I miss her every day of my life. I miss her every hour of a given day sometimes. But about myself I can relate to your other example. “Why me?” How am I so blessed to be surrounded with such a loving support system. how have I lucked out and still have my vision at my age when others younger than me have lost theirs? How wonderful that God gave me the opportunities to see the world that He did! My blessings throughout my struggle leave me floored with gratitude. Your prose is spot on. Beautiful!

    1. Yes, that unexpected hit in the gut, the missing, the longing–and the appreciation of having known them in the first place. I’m delighted to see the photos, of course, and so glad that my sister and my niece are taking a moment to remember my nephew, or that my friends are remembering someone special when they post a picture of someone they miss. It’s a beautiful thing about social media, isn’t it? And it’s a sad thing. And yet–we are blessed as well. We ask “why me?” on both sides. Why the blessings, why the pain. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. This was new to me. Thank you so much for sharing it. What an achingly beautiful piece. You must miss him so much. Why me? is a much more comfortable question when we are looking at our blessings, than when looking at our pain.

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