Why did this happen?
Why did I get hurt? Why didn’t he love me? Why didn’t she love me? Why did I get fired? Why did we lose the baby? Why didn’t I get the job? Why did the business fail? Why do we have to move?
It can go on and on and on…
You feel me?
My favorite word as a 3 year old was…WHY? My favorite word as a 4 year old was…WHY? And as a 5 year old it was still…WHY? And so on, and so on. You get the picture.
I would ask it so many times, in succession, that I can remember being forbidden by my parents to use that word. So then I would figure out new ways to ask WHY? Every single answer was another opportunity to ask the question in a new way…WHY? It was endless. My poor, exhausted parents.
Here’s what I want to know today…
Why do we have to know?
Does knowing WHY make any damn difference?
A story for you:
1995 – I fell down my stairs while excited about my best friend arriving for a sleep over. BOOM…torn ligaments in my ankle and a cast for 2 months. I was happy as a clam because it got me out of 3-a-days in swimming. Sad, but true.
2003 – shattered my right wrist and dislocated my elbow at a Brooks & Dunn concert. I was on a double date with my fancy new boyfriend, it was raining, I was buzzed, and had started a new job only 1 week prior…oh and I was in New Jersey. I had 2 reconstructive surgeries and a year of physical therapy to get it back to normal.
2010 – compound fractured my left arm (that means the bone came through the skin). I was leaving a NYC New Year’s Eve party with a guy I liked and while running to get a cab…I slipped and broke my arm. It was icy, I was tipsy on champagne, and I was wearing high-high-high heels. I had 2 surgeries this time as well, and refused a 3rd surgery to opt for eastern healing methods. I healed 100% in 9 months when I was told it would never heal without another surgery. They were wrong. I was right.
2016 – dislocated my left knee in a park in England. I had returned from Paris not an hour before, and met friends in the park to pick up Barney (the dog) and play fetch. We were about to leave when Derek (the husband) threw the ball one more time, and I was in the way. Barney hit the back of my left leg at full speed, and my kneecap popped right out of the socket. I looked like a Picasso, and not in a good way. An ambulance came and rushed me to the Leeds Trauma Center. It was the worst pain of all the injuries.
That was 1 week ago.
So for a kid whose favorite word was WHY, you can imagine I wonder that.
Every 6-ish years I have a big orthopedic injury.
I’m sure you have things that have happened in your life that you wonder the same thing. (Use this story to interject your own WHY’s in your life.)
And what I’ve come to understand about that vicious WHY circle is that…
IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE.
Knowing WHY this happens doesn’t take the pain away. It doesn’t shorten my rehab time. It doesn’t save me $$ on medical bills. It doesn’t heal me any faster.
And it certainly hasn’t prevented it from happening again.
When I broke both my arms I decided that I broke my arms because I was with guys that weren’t right for me and I was drinking too much.
That theory doesn’t work in this scenario as I stone-cold sober and with the best man I’ve ever known (Derek). I actually wish I had been drunk in this situation since they don’t give pain meds in England like they do in America.
So the theory I had for 6 years was no longer valid.
Which made me reconsider everything.
Why do I always need to know WHY something is happening?
Knowing WHY changes NOTHING.
Knowing why you had a miscarriage doesn’t make it better or restore your faith.
Knowing why he hit you doesn’t take away the anger, the pain or the fear.
Knowing why you got fired doesn’t prevent you from getting fired again.
However I do KNOW this….
KNOWING WHY MAKES NO DIFFERENCE.
YOU’LL DRIVE YOURSELF CRAZY TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHY.
Instead it’s way more valuable and interesting to say, “Okay, here are the cards I have been dealt…what am I going to do with them?”
A dear friend once told me, “You are only ever responsible for your perception of life.”
I must say, I remind myself of this everyday…especially when I can’t move around and have to rely on my family and new friends in a foreign country for support.
I can say, “Dammit, this always happens to me, why am I so accident-prone!” or I can say, “Okay, what do I need to do to make my life work? What is there to learn from this experience? How can this experience help prepare me for the future?”
The answers are astounding.
When I was in more pain than I thought humanly possible to endure last week in the park….I closed my eyes and my grandmother (Mimi) was right there with me. I kept my eyes closed as they loaded me onto a stretcher, into the ambulance, down bumpy roads, and eventually when the MD popped it back into place.
The whole time she was there with me. Reminding me to breathe, reminding me that she was excruciating and constant pain for so long and was sorry for how short-tempered she was with me and my family while we cared for her. We were there together on the beach in Greece and we were so happy.
When I didn’t think I could get through the pain without drugs, I did.
I learned I was stronger than I thought.
She was right there to remind me.
In the week since this injury, I’m learning what amazing friends I have both near and far. And what an incredible man I’m married to who thrives caring for me. And what a sweet and sensitive dog I have to not leave my side while I’m laid up in bed.
My perception is that this experience is a gift.
A reminder that my Mimi is beside me, that people will hold you up if you let them, that I’m stronger than I know, and that slowing down is a gift, not a punishment.
Here’s the end to the story…
I would do it again the same way.
Every time I’ve broken, torn or dislocated something…I would go through it again.
I am who I am because of those experiences.
I know why they happened.
They happened because they happened.
I’m finally getting peaceful with the answer. Here’s hoping you do as well.
Share in the comments below if this strikes a chord with you. It’s nice knowing I’m not alone on this!