When your baby dies your ears soon ring with everything happens for a reason. Does it? Does everything happen for what that suggests to be a good and important reason? Do babies die for a reason? Do we have to make heart breaking decisions for a reason? Are we destroyed by grief for a reason? From the outside looking in, many easily and confidently assure you that yes, absolutely, there is always a reason, perhaps it’s even part of a bigger plan. But what if I don’t agree with this plan? Where was my say in all of this? Whose reason? And what exactly is it? Because it better be bloody good. Like, saving the universe level of good. Not, ‘Oh you’ll be so much stronger after this.’ Or, ‘This will help you to appreciate what you have!’ F that. No thanks, not what I signed up for, refund me please!
One of the hardest parts of this expression is that you’re supposed to accept that there is a reason, that it’s a good one, and that you don’t need to ask any further questions. That works really well if you win the lotto, or get that amazing promotion that you’re not entirely sure you should have received. In times like those it’s easy to accept that everything happens for a reason and cash the cheque or sign on the dotted line without question. It’s a great way to tell yourself that as everything happens for a reason, it is out of your control and this good thing has been awarded to you because you deserve it.
But what happens when it’s not the lotto. What happens when it’s something awful, something terrible, something devastating. What happens when it’s just as great a shock but rather than lifting you into the clouds it knocks you to the ground and pins you down. Is there still a good reason? This expression is about providing comfort, faith in a greater plan that you just might not know about yet, a movement of responsibility to a higher power. But sometimes you can not even comprehend a world where this pain, this injustice, this grief, could actually be someone’s intention. Sometimes you would rather die than be part of the plan.
Knowing what I now know, I’m reluctant to ever say that anything happens for a reason. Unless it’s my reason and I made it happen. However, in an attempt to find the comfort and faith that that saying attempts to bring, in our home we believe that everyone is on a journey and that something can be learnt from everyone we meet. But that’s the same thing! No, it’s not. Rather than chess pieces in someone’s game, we are like a gang of meerkats or parade of elephants. We are social beings who work together and live in a community where we are all connected. Our lives overlap, our experiences are shared, and as humans we continuously cross paths with new souls. And old souls. And middle aged souls.
So what does this mean for my baby who died? Well if you ask his Dad he still says, “I think that Carlin just worked it all out and finished his journey in 37 minutes. Lucky kid!” And what does that mean for us who are yet to ‘work it out’? Carlin’s Mum says, “I think we can try to cherish the time our lives overlapped, and then take that connection, that experience, that moment, and use it to create something beautiful.” So did Carlin die for a reason? Beyond genetics and biology, no. But has his life had purpose and contribution? Absolutely. Carlin has planted an acorn deep within, his roots are spreading far and wide, and it is growing with heart and soul in every breath, every smile, every new soul we cross.