PYHO: Lack of Understanding

When Anna passed away, I was granted some kind of gift. Whether it was from God, from Anna or from my faith that I have grown up with, I don't know, but I had some kind of understanding.

When I knew that Anna was getting sicker and I knew that it was a very real possibility she wasn't going to make it, I stopped praying for her to get better. It breaks my heart to even say that, but if I am being honest, in the last week or so, I didn't pray for that anymore. Of course I hoped with all my heart that God would choose to perform a miracle and save Anna. I wanted that more than anything. But I knew it was a very real possibility that that wasn't going to happen. So instead I prayed for understanding. That if God's plan for her involved bringing her up to heaven and away from this Earth, to please, please, please help me to understand why. Why her? Why now? Just why?

When she did pass on to heaven, I believe that I was able to see and understand why. And I believe that more than anything, that that is what has gotten me through these last 2 months. That is why I am able to accept that she is no longer here and why I never experienced that grief stage of anger.

But that all changed these last 2 days. Anna's good friend for over 10 years, Micaela, was fighting leukemia since December. When she was diagnosed, Anna was one of the first people she told. She leaned on Anna for advice, for answers to the inevitable questions that only someone else fighting for their life could answer. Anna and Micaela were warriors together and provided much support to each other. They were often in the hospital at the same times, and although in unfortunate circumstances, were able to spend amazing quality time together. Of course, being in the hospital and fighting for their lives did not lend itself to typical teenager bonding; instead of going out to the latest parties or going shopping like most people their age would do, they bonded over which neck pillows were the best when laying in a hospital bed all day; they bonded over trying on wigs together. Anna showed Micaela how to fill in her missing eyebrows and they bonded over the unfortunate thing they had in common; cancer.

Yesterday, Micaela couldn't fight anymore and she went to heaven to be with Anna. To say this came as a surprise would be an understatement. However, not only was I not prepared for her to die, I was also not prepared for how much this would effect me. You would think after losing your sister when she's only 18 that not much else could effect you like that. However, losing Micaela has effected me so heavily.

This is different. This time, I don't understand. This time, I don't feel a sense of peace. This time, I do feel a little bit of anger. And this time I am definitely asking why but not feeling like I'm being answered. In some ways I feel like I am back to square 1... like all the progress I've made dealing with losing Anna is gone and I have to start all over. My heart is breaking all over again.

This time, I have a whole new set of questions; not just why. One of the hardest parts about having someone you love in heaven is the unknown of heaven; there is just so much mystery behind the concept of heaven that you have to base everything on blind faith. This is the first time for me that I have experienced this.

When I shared the news of Micaela passing on facebook and twitter, one of the main responses I kept getting was "Anna is so happy to see her friend again", and to be honest, this confused me to no end. My first reaction was to think "Well, probably not" because in my head, I think of Anna as being sad to see Micaela in heaven. I think of her saying "you're not supposed to be here, you were supposed to get better" because of course that's what Anna wanted for her friend. I think of it as a bittersweet reunion; of course they are happy to be together and pain free, but does that mean that Anna isn't sad that her friend passed away? Am I thinking too "earthly" about this?

Upon further discussions with some close friends and family, some different view points were brought to my attention. "People say there is no sadness in heaven," my mom pointed out. "Do you think Anna knew Micaela was going to die before we did?", someone asked. I have to admit, I hadn't thought of these things prior to these conversations, and they make good points. However, it just left me feeling even more confused.

Perhaps the worst part is that there are no definite answers to be found. There is no way for me to understand exactly how heaven works and what heaven is like until I get there. I have to decide for myself what I believe. So for now, I guess I will deal as best I can with my lack of understanding. I will do my best to accept that I can't understand everything. But I will still wish I could...

My heroes... always and forever. Now two beautiful angels in heaven...
I am linking up with Pour Your Heart Out at Things I Can't Say.

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Tiffany said...

I am so sorry for your second loss and that you are having to go through this again. I relate to you in several ways through this post. First, I went through a similar situation with a man who was like a second father to me when he was dying of Lou Gehrig's disease and I stopped praying for God to make him better and started praying for understanding and peace and His will to be done. I still feel guilty about that, and at times I wonder if somehow that was a lack of faith on my part. I don't think there are easy answers there. And second, once you have lost someone so close to you, I think that every death brings up all of those emotions you felt for that person all over again. Sort of like a domino effect. I lost a family friend last week, he was only 14 years old, and as I grieved for him and for his family, I realized that the grief was also for the other loved ones who I've lost in the past couple of years. I don't think I had realized that before.

Anyway, all that to say that you are not alone in this, and that I will be praying for you and for all of Mikayla's family and friends.


Susan said...

Heaven is the goal and that's so hard for us to understand. My heart breaks for you and both of your families. Many hugs your way, sweet friend.

Jenny said...

Patrice...when I saw you post it on fb I was kind of in shock. I felt like she would beat cancer and be able to be a normal teenager again.

Sometimes I don't understand God's plan especially when you take two beautiful teenage girls. They must have filled their purpose here. And there is no doubt how many lives they have touched now and before.

Hugs to you, your family, and her family.

Cancer sucks big time!

Shell said...

Seeing their smiling faces... it just makes me want to yell that it's not fair.

I don't understand God's plan and it sometimes makes me angry.

I'm so sorry for you loss. For your losses.

Vicki said...

I'm your newest follower, stopping by from #commenthour ... and I just needed to tell you that I think you are one of the strongest women I have ever known! xoxoxoxo

Miss-ology said...

You have a great strength even in great loss. Keep asking questions - as you do I have faith that God will start to calm your soul.

Donna said...

Hi, I'm following up from #comment hour. I'm sorry for your loss.

Rebecca Louise. said...

I just cant help but look at the that photo and will never know why? or how? Those two amazing girls aren't here any more and it angers me.

I am so sorry that you have lost two people in such a short amount of time. They were too young. I think you said it best Patrice. Maybe it is best to never understand why. Life is full of unanswered questions and maybe that is just what life is all about.

A dying patient once told me on his deathbed "If you constantly ask why? how? what if? then your not living this beautiful gift of life we've been given. I'm coming to the end of mine so don't dishonour yours." So whenever I have doubt I just think of him and what he said because it's so true.

Sarah said...

Life has not been kind to your or your family. i am so, so very sorry to hear about your losses. I can't begin to imagine what you are going through. You expressed your feelings so eloquently I felt myself tearing up as well. Thinking of you and your family.
Sarah @ made in usa challenge

Julie Jordan Scott said...

Wow. I wish I had something significant to say, but I am speechless... (to me WOW is With Out Words). I am sorry for what you experienced with both girls, so young.

I am something of an expert at grieving (unfortunately). I tell people to feel it all, to live it all, without flinching, to never deny the feelings you feel and to share what needs to be shared.

Hold no emotion back because "it isn't right or isn't nice or people might think I am weird."

Your sadness is from profound love.

Grief is an exploration into mystery and a gift we never want to open.

I am grateful that even though I missed #commenthour, I came to visit today, following the replay. Your post is a gift to me.

Barb Fullen said...

Dearest Patrice,
How hard this all must be for you, as you are not much older than Anna and Micaela. Your feelings, your questions, your lact of understanding is something we, people of faith, all go through at difficult times, like this, in our lives. You have a gift and a blessing in being able to express, in writing, what so many of us are unable to do at time like this. I, myself have the very same questions you do and I try to remember that only God has the answers and that someday He will reveal them to me. It is said that faith is believing without knowing and to know is to understand, so maybe we will not have all our answers in this life but we will in the next. I find comfort during times like this in "Footprints in the Sand, where it says, "During your times of trail and suffering, when you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you". May the Lord carry you through this and my God bless you always.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I don't know what to say. I was just trying to catch up on #CommentHour from last week, and this was completely unexpected after the last posts I've read. I feel as though I was just punched in the gut, your blog just broke my heart. I am so sorry for your losses, and so impressed by your strength and faith. Thank you for sharing the way that you are, it is truly beautiful.

Laura Anne said...

I am so so sorry to hear this Patrice. It makes me angry too. A wee boy I've been praying for since he was a baby has been fighting leukaemia for years. He was in remission. We thought the battle was over. Then just before his 5th birthday we found out the cancer was back, it had spread and there was nothing to do but palliative care. He should have been starting school this week. He is not. When my friend sent me the e-mail giving news of his death, I had only one response:

Cancer sucks.

That being said I believe your Mum is right - there is no sadness in heaven, but it doesn't take away from the grief and loss felt of Anna & Micaela.

a friend of mine lost her husband after he had finished chemo last summer. A book that really helped her with a lot of the questions and struggles she had was 'Heaven' by Randy Alcorn. It may or may not be something you would find helpful reading. I don't know.

Praying for you Patrice, for Anna's friends, for Micaela's family and friends.

Krystyn said...

It is so hard for us earthly beings to even comprehend what God has in store for us in Heaven. I think your mom is right, Anna can only feel joy and she's got to be happy to see her friend again. And, I'm guessing that they both know no pain and they know that one day, they will be reunited with the rest of you guys.

Having said that, that doesn't make the grieving any easier and I'm so sorry for your loss.

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