Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not for Me to Reason Why

It was Dec. 16, 2004, and I was driving to work, looking at the impeccably landscaped golf course near my family’s home, watching mist rise from the ponds. As I admired the beautiful morning, I thanked God for it, and for letting me keep my infant son, William.

The day before, we learned that he did not have cystic fibrosis, a degenerative, debilitating disease that would have killed him young, or required a double-lung transplant – neither of which I had envisioned for our dark-haired, big-eyed boy. I was so relieved my older son Martin would have his brother throughout his life, and that my husband and I would not have to bury our child.  

Diane Crim Photography. Used with permission. All rights reserved
 I thanked God again for sparing my family – my own and my siblings’ – the tragedies I had seen befall many of my friends’ families. Terminal illnesses, suicides, tragic accidents. I wondered out loud how all of that worked. How one family experiences typical life events, while another family suffers tragedy, sometimes many heartbreaks. How two people can suffer the same illness, disease, or injury, and one lives while the other dies. 

Four days later, I learned there is no rhyme or reason. On Dec. 20, tragedy befell my family. Jonathan – my sister’s and brother-in-law’s only child, my mother’s grandson, my nephew – died in a single-car crash on Tallahassee’s dark, dangerous Deerlake Road. He was only 16.

I still thank God. But I’ve never again wondered, silently or out loud, how any of this works; there is no sensible or reasonable explanation. I’ve never looked at the world the same way since. I do try even more to live each day with gratitude, reverence and humility.


  1. Karen, I have waited to post on this because every time I read it, I cry. At first, I chalked it up to silly female hormones. But when it happened the third and fourth time, I realized how powerful a message this is and how beautifully you've expressed it. You are an amazing writer and I am blessed to know you. It's not up to me to wonder why our paths crossed in this social world and in real life, but I am so glad they did. Thank you for this beautiful, heartfelt message.