Free will, it is a bitch. (The Devil’s Advocate)
So what is supposed to happen when you are generally a good person, work hard, and marry a great person? Not what you see here. This is Felecci being given extra stem cells from her sister when the remission was in doubt. Roughly 6 years later, she would be dead at 39.
People getting sick and dying is what happens on TV dramas to other people; that can’t possibly happen to me. I eat healthy and I work out (now anyway, don’t look at me in that tone of voice). I even suffer through a traditional church mass every once in awhile. I am honest, loving, hard working. Shouldn’t good things happen to me?
That’s what we are taught to think from a young age. We are taught that if you eat your veggies, say your prayers, and eat your vitamins that good things will happen to you. And anything Hulk Hogan tells me has got to be right, right?!
Turns out, not really. We are all very small and fragile in this universe. We can slip in the shower, be the unfortunate victim of a terrorist attack, get hit by a car, or yes….even get Cancer.
In the groups I frequent for widowers the question about WHY always comes up.
I too had this question. Why did Felecci die and not me? Why am I here to have to pick up the pieces and live life for both of us because she won’t get to? Why couldn’t we go together, instead of having to figure all of this out without my best friend to confide in?
The answer I came up with is Free Will. See, everything they told you about being good was a lie. You are not rewarded in this life for doing good, and you are not guaranteed punishment in this life for doing bad. They tell you in church you will be rewarded in the next life, but we aren’t really paying attention. We think if we do good we will receive good. In actuality, you are guaranteed nothing.
(Picture Gene Wilder here, as I have no budget to pay for copyrighted gifs)
The price of having Free Will is that nothing is guaranteed. Bad things can happen to amazing people. It isn’t fair, but neither is life.
If you were guaranteed happiness by simply being good, then what is the point and meaning of being good? Everyone would be doing it because there was a clear reward.
You have kids? Doesn’t protect you. Neither does helping your partner through substance abuse. Bad people don’t check the morality of the victim before committing murder.
Religious faith teaches people to believe that they will be rewarded in the afterlife, but this is not certain either. We have no way to know. What if god only cares about what is in our hearts, and not the sum of our actions but how we feel exactly at the moment we die?
So I asked myself: Self, does the price of free will mean that my wife of 12 years gets Cancer based on random chance and there is nothing that I can do to change that? I’m sorry but yes.
Even if your partner had a hand in their demise, there is little we can do as hindsight is 20/20. All we can do is the best we can in the moment. We do what we think is right, and hope. Sometimes, hope is not enough.
So why exercise free will and do good at all? Many people don’t.
They lie cheat and steal to get what they want. If you believe the world is a zero sum game you too can go out there and fight for yours. You only have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror, and you only have yourself to worry about.
I try to choose a different path. I don’t always live up to it, but I try. I try to be honest, admit when I make mistakes, and forgive when forgiveness is asked for. I help when I can and have the means, and I don’t expect anything back. I don’t look for anything from the world, because it is too fickle for me to rely on.
I surround myself with good people and disassociate with those whom seek to do harm. I try to offer assistance to those in trouble, but I don’t compromise my values or morals, and I try my hardest not to judge.
When I discover that I don’t live up to these things, or if I fail in these things through human error, I ask for forgiveness.
Since Felecci has died, I have been changed in many ways. But in my darkest hours, friends and family came to make sure I was alright and keep me from drowning in my own grief. Remember what I said about not having rewards for being good? That isn’t entirely true.
Maybe we are all in this together, and by helping one another we can overcome more in unison than we can standing alone fighting over the scraps.
So if you know someone who has lost their partner in life, take it from me…
They are NOT ok. They are not going to be ok for a very long fucking time. They need help, and they don’t know what it is. If you see something you can help with, help them. It is the good thing to do. I guarantee you nothing for it, but you will have no trouble looking yourself in the mirror.
If you have lost your partner…
Find others who know the pain. Talk with them. It will save your life and sanity. Do not fight this alone – it is too difficult of a problem to handle. If it is too much, seek help. This pain can take you to very dark places if you let it.
Remember, no matter what has happened, you did the best you can. Sometimes, we can’t predict what will happen. Maybe had we gotten a do over you would have done better, but hindsight.
We must not make ourselves feel guilty because of our loss. We did the best we could given the moment.