Maybe we are asking the wrong question.

When my son took his life, I asked, “Why?” Everyone asked why.
And I think about that question, because there really is no reason that would suffice…
That would make it make sense. That would make the pain go away.
And we always want to know… how to interpret it. How to wrap it up. How to make it all neat and tidy…
We see it whenever there is a celebrity suicide.
For a moment we discuss it like it is a serious topic, that we should do something about.
For a moment we grieve and pay tribute
And construct some sort of neat narrative
That will turn that person’s entire life into some kind of cautionary tale
About drugs or fame or mental illness
And how sad it all is.
And the press asks why and pretends to have an answer…
Maybe given by an expert. But I think about the question.
And somewhere they are burying a girl that is gone too young
And the mother will ask the priest why.
And the girl that was bullied or the boy molested or the kid that is outside every group…
But the news will cover that one that was on Facebook.
And there is that article about the kid that was eight.
And at the edge of that reservation, the spring melt reveals yet another cluster
Quietly covered by a hand full of bureaus… each asking why so many young indigenous kids end their lives.
And they talk about 21 vets that kill themselves every day.
And talk about PTSD. And mental health. And veteran’s services.
We ask why. 21 times a day. And some people will give you some very good answers.
Because why matters.
And I think about the question.
We ask the same kind of things about mass shooters,
The kind that just snapped. And we want to know why…
Or about that celebrity overdose… or the child of celebrity.
And all of them or any of them
Could be the modern equivalent of that after school movie.
A morality play.
A little red riding hood warning to stay on the path.
And we have to tell each other why it happened.
We have to tell ourselves why it happened. Give an answer.
It becomes a song that is sad
Or a poem no one reads
It is the cautionary tale
It has a beginning and middle and end.
It has a lesson, like a fable.
That is supposed to keep us from killing ourselves
By accidental overdose
By intentional act
By not staying on the path
And talking to wolves.
Somewhere in some garage is cleaning up the blood
Using gloves and bleach
And somewhere a father is walking in a cold damp night…
Counting his steps and watching his breath dissipate.
And somewhere a child grows up wondering if his path
Will follow his father’s at some age…
A life of addiction punctuated by a loud bang.
All wrapped up with a tidy bow.
Not because we ask why, but because we answer…
And we accept the answer.
And I think about the question.
And maybe we are asking the wrong question.


One thought on “Maybe we are asking the wrong question.

  1. So many unanswered questions we have. Someday when we join God in heaven we will have our answers. Right now we can only pray for peace in our minds.

    Liked by 1 person

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