Hard Questions

You know how things stick out to you depending on your time of life? On what’s going on? You know what I mean. Like, if you want a baby, all of a sudden everybody around you seems pregnant. This week, for me, it has been death.

On Tuesday, the kids at school were all full of the death of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. Kids always ask hard questions. The ones in my study hall, two of whom are self-proclaimed atheists, wanted to know why he died then, when he had done so many dangerous things. They thought he had died with his daughter at the scene, and that was “just wrong.” When I told them that maybe it was just his time, their reaction was hostile. “He has two kids! How could it just be ‘his time’?”

How do you even begin to explain that to someone who doesn’t believe in God and the hereafter?

Then I called my cousin to update her on my sister. She also is a non-believer. Her mom died last year of Alzheimer’s. When I mentioned that my sister had been doing better and I wondered why this had to befall her now, my cousin countered with this question: “Why isn’t life fair?”

I have a notion about that, actually. We human beings, bound by linear time as we are, are unable to see the whole picture. What happens to us probably is fair in the grand scheme of things. And besides, years ago my father made a statement which I think describes fair. My daughter was talking about all the good people that she knew, and she thought it wasn’t fair that they wouldn’t be going to heaven. Dad said that actually what would be fair was if NONE of us went since we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. That’s a sobering thought, but I think it is probably right.

Still, you wonder. Today at school, we got word that a freshman had died this morning. Freak accident. He was getting ready for school. Why then? Why in the safety of his own home?

That’s sort of the question my sister’s youngest daughter asked me this afternoon. She called, for which I am grateful. She cried. She wanted to know why some of the family was not reacting with what she would term love. She wanted to know why this had to happen to my sister NOW, when it appeared that she was getting better. When my brother-in-law had put her in a care facility to keep her safe.

And I did not have any easy answers for her. I told her the best she could do was to react lovingly herself. And she is doing just that.

I wish my husband had been home, though, for the other question. I told him about the why now, when my sister had been so lucid recently. And his response made sense. He said that maybe it was so that the family could have good memories of my sister, that in some way her lucid moments had been her way of saying good-bye. That makes sense to me, and it sounds like something My Father would allow.

This is where things stand with my sister. The doctors have run tests that show she has no neural activity. Her heart has been beating on its own, but that is weakening. There is a “brain death” protocol that the hospital must follow. It involves their fixing anything that is wrong with my sister that would simulate brain death. On Monday her temperature was 105. On Tuesday it was 92. I guess they have that stabilized. They have fixed her electrolytes and her blood pressure. They ran the initial tests for neural activity, and they will run them again tomorrow to make sure, which is a good thing. And then, if my brother-in-law allows it, they will turn off the machines that are keeping my sister alive.

My niece only cried once during our whole conversation. College started for her in the middle of August, so she hadn’t visited her mother recently. And she felt so bad. I didn’t know what to say to that, either. What came out of my mouth was that now, while her mother’s body is still there, she should go tell her mom she was sorry she hadn’t visited. My sister valued education, and I am sure she would have understood that. I told her to take her mother’s hand and tell her that she loves her. I wish I had told her to tell my sister that she would see her again. On the other side.

Thank you for all of your kind comments and your prayers. I am sure your prayers and those of others are what is sustaining our family at this time.

I am so thankful to be in the hands of the One Who Knows the Answers!


1 Response to “Hard Questions”

  1. 1 writeathome September 8, 2006 at 10:34 pm


    You’re absolutely right. There are no easy answers. Your last sentence really sums it all up. We don’t have all the answers, but we can choose to place our lives in the hands of He who does know all. I will continue to pray for your sister and family.


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September 2006
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