They Say That There's a Reason
March 8, 2019 | By Alexis Melrose | General
I used to believe that everything happens for a reason. We might not ever discover that reason, but the events of the world should all line up to create a particular outcome. Whenever someone experienced a hardship I assured them that it would all work out.
At the end of our senior year in college, I watched my best friend and college roommate open her rejection letters from grad school. I reminded her of something that we both believed, “Everything happens for a reason”. She stayed here in San Diego for another year. She spent the year interning with psychologists. In October, she met the man of her dreams. They have since gotten married and had two beautiful children. The following year she pursued her doctorate degree at another institution. It seemed as though my belief had been validated, all of these great opportunities happened because of those initial rejection letters.
Many years later, I was seven months pregnant and rushing my daughter out the door for a birthday party. She fell and it instantly became obvious that we would be spending the afternoon in the ER instead of the park. I calmly buckled her into her car seat and wiped at the blood pouring down her forehead. On our way to the hospital, we were in an accident that totaled our car. My husband, the driver, was injured but my daughter and I appeared fine.
As soon as we arrived in the trauma room the OB nurse hooked me up to machines and tried to find my son’s heartbeat using a Doppler. “Don’t worry,” she tried to reassure me as she went to get an ultrasound machine and the tech. Usually the ultrasound tech will remind you that they can’t tell you anything definitive about your baby but they usually let you see the monitor.
I asked over and over again, “Is he ok?” but the tech refused to give me any information, insisting we had to wait for the doctor. Finally, a doctor came over and reviewed the ultra sound. “I’m sorry,” he began as he confirmed the nurse’s suspicions. My son no longer had a heartbeat.
It wasn’t until after my c-section was over and Ben had been taken to the morgue that I had a chance to start processing what had happened. That morning my world had been perfect-my family was happy and healthy and I had the job of my dreams. In a moment, all of that changed.
I have asked myself “Why?” many times in the almost five years since then. Why us? Why Ben? Why that day? No one has any answers. Not the doctors. Not my family. Not our former church. Not the god I used to pray to. Eventually, I stopped looking for answers or a reason for Ben’s death because nothing can change the end result- he’s gone.
I used to think that if I had a reason, my grief and our life without him would be easier. I tried to make something good come from our loss by volunteering with Empty Cradle. The friendships I have developed have helped me to heal and I have found peace in helping others honor their children. My heartaches when I see a request from a newly bereaved parent wanting to join our group. But none of that erases the pain of losing Ben. The truth is, there will always be a place in my life where Ben should be and nothing can change that- not a reason, not a lesson, not a friendship, not a newfound purpose in life, not his older sister or his baby brother.