sudden death vs. belief in a loving universe

Writing without the deeply personal is not the whole story of grief. To give the whole story, to give as many handholds as possible in the steep climb of grief, we need to hear personal stories. Each Friday, I’ll post something from my own experience of grief and love. It’s an inside look at love, at grief, at life.

This week, a post from the early days of grief: trying to find context, make meaning, in a world that no longer makes any sense.


Every day is a marathon, and still I have no idea how I will fill each one as it starts.

I am, I have been, and still am, at the edge of my faith – not just in god or in love, but in anything: all of life. As far afield as one could possibly go, if one were me. My mind is tired, and I still try to find some one thing that explains, defines, contains everything.

Here is my current multiple choice thinking:

A. There is no god, and never has been. Anything that has ever felt like love or support was only made-up in my mind.

B. There is a god, and she can be a cruel, indifferent B*tch.          

I live in both options every day, many times a day. Options A and B both suck, and I am sobbing and angry and alone and everything is pointless and I soak myself in unwinnable imaginary hells.

Sometimes, to shake things up, I wander into Option C: that there is a god, there is a force of love, and Matt is here with me, but I am too dense/stubborn/addled/lame/lazy/bull-headed/fill in the blank to recognize it.

Which then usually devolves into another imaginary argument between me and the Source I no longer believe in as to whether it is understandable that I would be lost at this point, and not so good on the trusting.


But tonight, driving down the road, having shoveled out the barn and tended creatures, I am smacked by option D.

Option D: There is a god, and she knew this was coming. Therefore, She put me as far into love and trust and goodness as She could, hoping it would shield me from the blast. Hoping it would be enough to carry me.

Option D suggests that whom-or-whatever powers this universe knew this was coming, and so loved each of us that S/he or It put us as deeply into love as we could possibly go. To give me something to hold on to. To have some memory, some visceral, beautiful thing to hold up against the living and imagined hells and wracking sobs and all the horrible mind crap that takes up my days and my dreams.

A pre-emptive medicine. A tanking up on goodness for the long haul about to come.

Because you are loved, sweetheart, and that has always been so. Hold. On. To. This. 

Now, the actual answer to the unwinnable equation is probably more like the square root of duck sauce multiplied by some integer of who knows what.

All I know is that when moments of Option D smash into me, I’m sobbing and I know I’m loved. I feel held up and sat beside, not fixed, but tended. This whole path seems possible.

Not good, not right, but possible.

How that works functionally, given that I still have to live this, well, I have no idea.

That I am tanked up and full of love makes no difference to me at times.

That Option D is true is often seen by Self B and Self A as mere delusion.

But then, there is this, from Wendell Berry:

“Sometimes our life reminds me of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
and in that opening a house, an orchard and garden, comfortable shades, and flowers
red and yellow in the sun, a pattern made in the light for the light to return to.

The forest is mostly dark, its ways to be made anew day after day, the dark
richer than the light and more blessed, provided we stay brave enough to keep on going in.”


Option D: a pattern made in the light for the light to return to.


Even if I am making it all up, Option D is still a whole lot better than the other letters I have on my list. Even though this forest is mostly dark, Option D does give me a pattern made in light. A place to return to.


I’ll take that.


How about you? How have you wrestled with making sense out of the universe that contains such bizarre wrong-ness? Let us know in the comments, or send me an email.