This past week one phrase has come up a lot in my conversations, “everything happens for a reason.” Insert hard eye roll here. Stop it, nope, nada, hell no, swish that wine around in your mouth and chug it. I used to say this a lot prior to cancer. Now I wouldn’t say it if rainbows shot from your rear end. I was ignorant.
No one needs to have cancer for any particular reason. It wasn’t brought into my life to make me stronger. It wasn’t brought into my life to make me more courageous. It wasn’t brought upon me because I didn’t pray enough prior. It especially wasn’t brought into my life to have my kids watch their mother walk through hell and back. You’ll never convince me that there is a reason for it.
People want to lay back in the grass under a big oak tree and be philosophical about life, it’s grand meaning, and everything in it. To me there isn’t some hidden message that I am missing, some grand meaning, or some significance to cancer. There just can’t be. Did my outlook on life change, hell yes it did. Did it change for the better, you bet it did. Did I have to endure months of pain to see that, for me that answer is no, some would probably argue with me on that.
I just can’t be taboo about this. I walked through HELL. Bone pain from chemo is my definition of hell on earth. Fatigue to the point of pure exhaustion and not being able to get out of bed is my definition of hell on earth. Having your physical appearance change so much to where you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror is hell on earth. We haven’t even touched on what cancer brings emotionally, I’ll give you a hint, it’s hell! They are called chemo dips for a reason because it isn’t rainbows, sunshine, and bliss in those valleys. Heck you aren’t even supposed to drink cabernets in those valleys!
Your children shouldn’t have to see you struggle. Your spouse shouldn’t have to see you struggle. Your siblings, parents, family, or friends shouldn’t have to see that either. And you might say this is what shapes us into the people we are today. For some things in life I believe that. For the really bad stuff, nope. No one needs cancer.
Really bad things happen to really good people and there just isn’t a reason. Don’t overthink it. Don’t become a philosopher, it’s not needed here. Go try to figure out world peace first rather than explaining to me the reason why I had to have cancer. I really hope someone can figure out that world peace thing or perhaps we need more eclipses in our lives where we are all looking up rather than pointing fingers at each other. But just don’t come at me with the reason for cancer, it doesn’t exist.
Let’s put cancer on a shelf for a moment. If there was a reason for everything then things I can’t even fathom like burying a child would have a reason. As a parent I cannot begin to wrap my head around the reason or some deep meaning for the loss of a child. Parents should not bury their children, end of discussion. It’s a hard line no, not everything happens for a reason.
Now let’s change gears for a moment and head to a lighter side. You get a big promotion at work, you get an annual pay increase, or let’s say you get married. Does everything happen for a reason in those scenarios? Nope. If you say that then my belief is you are diminishing all of the hard work the individual put in to each one of those scenarios. The big promotion was likely because of the hard work you put in. The annual pay increase was for a job well done because if you sucked at your job it would likely not be a great pay increase or there would be none. The getting hitched, that takes work to build a relationship to the point where someone wants to actually say, “I do.” It’s like when people say , “you’re lucky,” don’t diminish the hard work people put into life, luck has very little to do with it.
Many life events have shaped me into the person I am today. Cancer has shaped me dramatically. I often say that I wouldn’t change the outlook on life I have now for anything but it doesn’t mean I needed to have cancer. Cancer didn’t make me stronger. There isn’t a reason I had to have cancer enter my life or my family’s life.
I will never forget in the midst of chemo when I was so fatigued that I was in bed, my youngest popped over to the side, flung her arm over me and said, “mom, I will love you forever and I will love you even if you die.” There isn’t a reason a 5 year old should understand that kind of reality. There isn’t a reason I should have had to choke back my tears and then ball like a baby the minute she stepped out of the room.
It’s almost like coming at me with the phrase, you’ll be fine. Not everything happens for a reason. Learn to be ok with that.