Monday, November 06, 2006

Maybe I deserve it

In those early days after losing Alex, I thought I dealt with the idea that God was punishing me for something. Over the course of the year, I thought I dealt with my anger over the idea that my child had to lose his life over some "plan" that I just wasn't going to understand until I died. I have wiggled and folded and pressed and reshaped my way of thinking about this over and over and over...all in the hopes that I will someday make enough sense out of it that I will feel some sense of peace. But today while reading through my archives I realized just how little sense it all makes. Unless...

Unless there is something to the idea that God is a punishing God.

Maybe I do deserve it. Maybe my babies deserved it. Maybe I should have known better than to accept that made-for-tv bullshit that God loves me. Maybe God is just really pissed at me for something.

I have spent so much energy clinging to this idea that God wouldn't do this to my babies just because he was angry with me. But maybe I was just wrong. Maybe God isn't all love and kindness. Maybe God is vindictive and angry.

All signs on this road seem to tell me that it's over...a dead-end...that we will never welcome another living baby into our home. We're either stubborn or stupid...because we buy crib bedding and decorate a room that my husband calls "the baby's room." And all the while, God is laughing. And it's not a joyful laugh.

I peer into the darkness every day and think of how easy it would be to give in to just let go. What am I holding on for anyway? Some illusory promise of eternal life? I have no idea how to hold fast to that when the promise of God's love already seems to be an empty promise in and of itself. How many times am I expected to get hit over the head before I just let go of the white-knuckled grip I have boys.

And maybe I deserve it all. As I sit here and look at this, it's all I can come up with.


Runelady said...

I promised myself I wouldn't comment. I said, this is just another step that my loving daughter has to work through but I cannot remain silent. Bullshit!!!! Pure unadulterated Bullshit!!!! In your very short life (compared to earth and God's so-called existence) there is not one thing you did to deserve this pain, agony, and horrible disappointment. You are a better mother than I ever was. You are a better citizen than I ever was or am going to be. You are more intellegent, more caring, and an activist about more things than I ever got involved in. LIfe is more than endurance but endurance still exists and God is just a benign bystander, watching how we handle life in all its forms. Good, bad, beautiful, ugly, life rolls down the hill and once in a while right the hell over us. Little Alex and Travis moved through our lives, not with permanence but will just as much love as we could provide. Grave markers are sucky life markers but sadly, they exist. I love you and maybe my comment is motivated by my blindness as your mother, but I don't think so. You, my darling, are a wonderful human being. Remember, I love you and so does a whole lot of other people.

One Mother's Journey said...

I'm going to second your lovely mom... bullshit. Just bullshit.

Hang in there - you deserve so much more.

whatthef*ck said...

the one thing that i've heard with a god reference and found to feel true is this: Announcing your "plan" is a good way to hear god laugh. i think of it as "the gods" or destiny or whoever is driving this bus. clearly we are not in charge.

wow-you must be feeling really shitty to be thinking that any entity would wish this upon you. clearly there is a dearth of explanations for your personal hell. how could you possibly deserve this? people don't always get what they deserve that's for sure.

you mentioned that it would be easy to give up. would it? would you regret it for the rest of your life that you didn't try one more time? i guess that depends on the outcome, doesn't it? if only you could know. the road looks really difficult either way. trying again gives you a chance at holding a living baby in your arms. i often wonder if i'm stubborn or stupid. guess i'll find out. essentially, we decided to go for it again because we didn't want to make such an important decision based on fear.

i wanted to close with "godspeed" but i don't believe in him. you get the idea.

Laura said...

I'm going to third your awesome mom. That sounds just like something my mom would say.
You've had a really sucky blow with the adoption. It's so scary to figure out which road to head down, I know. It's hard to see far down any road when you've had to pick out headstones for your children. But I know that everyone around you doesn't doubt for a minute that something wonderful is going to happen to you. Please hang in there, Catherine. Much, much love.

"God is just a benign bystander, watching how we handle life in all its forms. Good, bad, beautiful, ugly, life rolls down the hill and once in a while right the hell over us." That is wonderful. Thanks for that--I was up at 3 this morning thinking about just this thing. That helped.

Hedda said...

I grew up in a preacher's house. My grandfather was a preacher. Every time the doors to the church were open we were there.

I was taught that God is a loving God. You did nothing to bring the death of your two little boys on yourself.

When my little boy died every thing I believed in was shaken to the very ground. I still believe in God, but I don't understand prayer at all.

Yesterday I walked by a street preacher that said we should let God run our life. We don't run our life. I kind of laughed and thought, "I let God run my life and he killed my son."

A lot of what you said about God in your post I have said. I know how hard it is to make sense of it all.

There are no answers on this side of heaven. Only God holds the answers.

I'm sorry that life is so screwed up.

God sucks.

nuttychemist said...

What could you have done in 3 years worth of time between sam and alex that would have turned you into such a horrible person that god would punish not only you but your entire family?

How great of a person were you before that god "graced" you with sam and your lovely husband?

I put grace in quotes because I agree with your Mom, god is a bystander in our lives. Maybe he is a good friend and someone who is always there but your friends don't control your life and I don't think god does either.

I can only imagine how that adoption letter broke your heart and I'm truly sorry, you didn't need your heart broken again.

The real reason I'm commenting is because of the paragraph about peering into the darkness. I hope you didn't mean letting go of your life. I can't imagine what you are going through, but I can imagine what sam and steve would go through if they lost you as well as alex and travis. Those two people are why you are holding on. If losing alex and travis are your punishments aren't sam and steve your rewards?

Renae said...

Ah, but if this same vindictive God really didn't like you, then why did he grace you with such a beautiful, intelligent, precocious, little, live boy? And why do you have such a fantastic husband?

No one deserves to have bad stuff happen. But it still happens. That is not God.

Your mother is incredilby wise. If you ignore what all the rest of have written, listen to her.


vixanne wigg said...

I don't believe in god, although in the midst of my pain I did...I wanted to believe in anything. And I'm pretty sure I was saying the exact same things you're saying because it was easier to believe that god hated me and there was some big plan than to believe that it was just some stupid bizarre accident or weird problem with my body. At least if it was a plan, I could accept losing hope. I wouldn't have to hope and be disappointed again.

I don't think that god caused you to lose your sons, because I don't think that god causes anything. I think that the loss of your sons was either due to a connected reproductive problem or two totally separate problems--but both of these scenarios occured entirely in the natural world.

Even if there is a god and he had something to do with why you lost your sons, to me, it's like talking about evolution. You can believe in evolution and still believe in god. Your body and your sons bodies are the key to figuring out why what happened happened and if it will happen again...not if god hates you.

And the reasons to go on and not give up? Your living son. Your husband. Your mom. All the animals you help.

I dunno. I just think that life is crap sometimes. I think the meaning is what you make of it.

BethGo said...

IWow. You've really got me thinking. My second son was born with open wounds on his face and his leg. He also was missing his left hand. It was all a huge surprise to us. No one knows what went wrong or how it happened. All I know is that it happened while he was supposed to be safe inside of me.
For awhile I felt like I really brought it all on myself. I had so much pride in my older son. I thought maybe I was being punished for, I don't know, loving him too much.
Throughout this whole thing, I just can't bring myself to think that God would do this to a baby.
I try not to think about it.
I do have to tell you I think you are very brave. And I agree with everyone else who said, there is nothing you could have done wrong to make this happen.
I am so very sorry for your loss.

MB said...

I just don't think I can believe that the God I believe in is a punishing God. I just can't. I think that thought was created by man who wanted others to follow him and used it to scare us into believing that He was punishing for his own use.

That was a lot of pronouns.

I read a book by Cynthia Brown (I know, she's a nut-job psychic who seems to have started her own religion, but my mom read the book and begged me to read it because she said it made sense). It did make sense.

I still think that religion is a crock. Organized religion is bad and I just don't see anything that will change my mind.

But, her point was that God is not the vindictive bastard that most of us have been taught to fear. And that was very comforting. She had good things to say about the pain of losing a child. That it was the most intense and worst pain ever created. That there was nothing out there to fix that.

I like her honesty.

If you want me to send it to you, let me know. I will. I'm not saying it's a magic fix, but it helped me feel better about that particular struggle. I do still have it now and then, but I have something to validate my thought that it just can't possibly be true.


MB said...

And for what it's worth, your mom's comment was right on and I love her, even though she made me cry at work.

Dana said...

kate - you absolutely did not deserve this. you know my feelings on God so i won't go into it all here but He DOES love you. i know it may be hard to see that but it's true. i don't know why bad things are allowed to happen but i don't for one second believe that God is punishing you. That is not God.

i love you.

MB said...

Crap. Sylvia Browne. The nutty one who's always on Montel.

I really should finish my coffee before I comment.

kate said...

Blogger ate my comment...i am not going to rewrite it now...but basicaly i agree with your mother!! And i am thinking of you.

R said...

The God I know is not a punishing God. He weeps right along with us when we hurt, Catherine. And if he were only a punishing God, how could we explain the presence of people like Sam, Steve and your mom in your life?

God created everything perfect, but sin entered the world through the fall, and now humankind has to deal with the consequences of that. It sucks. Looking at my grandparents get old, friends die of cancer, weeping at all the makes me long for heaven even more.

I hope that made some sort of sense.

Depressionista said...

I don't believe in god, and I don't think you need to hear another philosophical viewpoint on whether or not he/she/it is nice, mean, batshit crazy...

I just want you to know that I have been where you are. Not literally--I only lost one child, and obviously our situations are all different. But I have been in the place where I've felt cursed, punished, for some reason singled out for bad luck and tragedy. Sometimes I still go to that place. That place is lonely and painful, and I'm sorry you're in it.

As far as deserving's been my experience that people get things or lose things regardless of whether they are worthy or not. There are horrible people who get all the good luck in the world, and wonderful people who get shit on time and time again. I usually fall back on the "it's all random theory when I start trying to figure out why, why, why.

In my life, I have found that it is really, really hard to rebuild hope after it has been crushed by loss and grief. For you, it was crushed by loss and grief twice. Maybe you just need to give yourself some time before looking too far ahead to the future--some time for hope to take root again.

Take care.

Holley said...

A few posts ago you said that you trusted us to call "bullshit" when we saw it. I think that's what everyone is doing.

You have in no possible way done anything to deserve losing two children. I don't think that any of us get what we deserve, good and bad. Life and death and everything good bad and in between happen. We treasure the moments that are good, we rage against the bad. But I don't think it makes sense. Any of it.

Someone once posted here (and maybe it was you) the notion that God was like a parent--he doesn't control everything that happens to his children, but he weeps with them when times are bad and is there to comfort us as well. God and I still have our debates (although the conversation can be a bit one sided) but I probably still believe most in this concept of God.

three minute palaver said...

your mum is lovely. and she's right.