There was a time when I believed in a god.
When I was a child I remember imagining a big man sitting in the clouds watching over all the humans. If things went right, we gave thanks to that man. If things went wrong, we said it was part of his plan.
I don’t remember when that visual entered my mind but I assume it had something to do with the media. I continued to believe there was a god, a male god, who just lived in the sky somewhere or whose presence was just part of the wind. I remember hearing words like, “why did god do this? how did he let this happen? why are people in the world starving yet others over eating? why is there poverty and war, etc etc etc?!”
I guess at some point I decided that human beings just needed someone or something to blame because they have no other answers for their questions. They were desperate.
I didn’t want to be desperate. I watched my mother pray every morning, before the sun was even up, my grandmother, my aunts. Praying, praying, praying. But their pain never went away. There was no one to take it away.
After I began questioning religion and why god had to be male and why we always blamed him for our suffering, I started to feel this connection to some sort of power in the universe. I started praying to the universe, to the sky, the stars, the galaxies. And at home, I continue to keep my paintings and portraits up of Guru Nanak, because He was an actual human being at one point who walked on this earth, and since childhood I felt a strong pull towards Him. Like He has always been a guardian in my life.
I’ve seen a lot of death. And I’m only 34 years old. When I was a small child, I knew about death because my mom often spoke about losing her mother at a young age and my father often spoke about losing his father at a young age. It was never too confusing to me, I guess I felt I just got it. They died.
When I was 19, I watched my 18 year old friend’s body be lowered into a grave. I saw the bodies of the parents my close friends lost. A few years ago I watched my mom’s only brother take his last breaths. He died right in front of us.
I always accepted it. And I listened when others said, “it was god’s will. It was in his plan. God works in mysterious ways. This is what god chose.” etc. etc. etc. etc.
I can’t anymore.
Three Mondays ago, I woke up feeling great. I texted Andrew, “good morning, how are you feeling?”
Still haven’t gotten his response.
My message was sent at 9:50am. He died 40 minutes later.
When I spoke to him the day before over the phone, I didn’t know it would be our last phone conversation.
People have been sending so many messages. So many phone calls. Flowers. Sending so much love. It’s been a blur. Like one really long day that just wouldn’t end.
I started to hear those words again, “god chose this.”
I keep quiet. Because that’s what I do. My anger, my pain, it brews in my body until my skin and bones can no longer contain it and it comes out of my fingers and onto this page.
Andrew was my co-worker, and then boyfriend, fiancé, husband, father of my children. We separated but never divorced. There were days I hated him and days I truly believed I could not live without him. That my heart would literally break without his love. During an argument one night in our condo, I actually threw a very heavy-framed wedding photo of us at him (I missed, fyi).
He was the first one to say, “I love you” when we were dating. He said it when he was leaving my apartment: got into his 350Z, put the window down and said, “you don’t have to say anything back, but – I love you.” And I just stared at him, like a moron.
Two days after he died was his 37th birthday.
Not 73. He wasn’t old and grey and wrinkled. He was young and beautiful.
And he left behind two little humans who need him.
But god chose this. Right?
God chose this young father of two to just die one day. God chose for two sweet little girls to grow up without their daddy. God chose for their hearts to shatter.
Within the last 11 years, I’ve often thought about Andrew as a little boy — big radiant smile, and wished that we had known each other then and grown up together.
I didn’t get to grow up with him. Or grow old with him. My time with him was short. Only 11 years when I thought we had a lifetime. But I do get to see his little girls grow up.
He deserved to see that too. He deserved to see Annabella get as tall as him, one day towering over me and Talia. He deserved to see Talia become a teacher or a fashion designer. He deserved to walk them down the aisle and get through school and teach them how to drive.
He deserved to get old. I really wanted to see his thick head of hair turn into that distinguished salt and pepper.
But god chose this. No one knows why though. No one has that answer. But hey – we can blame a male-gendered entity up there in the clouds for taking my daughters’ daddy away.
Because we can’t fathom it. We cannot understand why one day he was right here, heart beating, and the next day – gone.
And now just ashes.
He isn’t here to tell the girls, “mommy is the captain of our ship.”
All I can feel in this moment is that our ship is sinking. And no spiritual entity, gendered or not, can stop it.
People think I’m strong. But it’s a lie. I’m in pieces. Broken and incomplete.
Was this all part of god’s plan?