This is a hard one. I'm just fresh from the funeral of a dear friend, someone who loved life and his family. He died within four months of an unexpected cancer diagnosis at the age of 56. So many at the funeral were asking, "Why?" Heart wrenchingly, I know he even asked the question during his final weeks.
We're humans and we struggle to understand big questions like this, to put things into our own, albeit, tiny perspective. There are so many things to wonder about . Why is one person cured while another is not? Why does one woman long to have a baby but can't, and so many women are able? Why does God (assuming you believe in God) allow suffering? Why did my ex leave me? Why can't we all just get along?
If we can answer whatever our deep question is with an agreeable answer, we feel satisfied. We are uncomfortable with uncertainty, so getting an answer that we can live with seems to give us some closure. When someone passes, people might say, "Oh, he fulfilled his purpose on earth," or, "God called him home." Now, neither of those answers are really any less mysterious than the original question. But they seem plausible and give us that reason we need. We always seem to be looking for the "This happened because of this" summation.
Today, on a private Facebook divorce support group (I'm not going to give anything away here!) someone posted, asking if anyone had ever gotten a real answer from their ex-spouse as to WHY. Anyone who has been faced with an unwanted divorce has certainly asked that question. There is nothing wrong with wondering, asking, or wanting answers.
In the case of divorce, I feel that when we become obsessive over "figuring it out" or when we use our own "answer" (that may or not be totally accurate) to justify our own actions regarding our ex, or our new outlook on life, we aren't really healing authentically. We're using this "answer" as a turning point, a launching pad into our new lives- what if it isn't true?
No marriage is perfect. But many couples make it despite facing disagreements, having different backgrounds or different values- (maybe they don't even vote for the same presidential candidate, ha ha!) My own marriage didn't make it. I don't know why.
During the process, I got a few "answers" from X. They were mostly surface things, that really didn't seem to deal with any underlying truth. In fact, the one I thought was the most plausible turned out to be anything but true a couple months after the divorce. Most of the reasons I was given were external- I did this, so he felt that. Something helpful for me to remember is that we all have egos, pride- defense mechanisms- that get in the way of open and honest communication. If you're at the point of divorce, it may be that your communication isn't at its peak, especially at this juncture. Right?
In my case, X seemed to respond to my constant "Why, why?," questions with just anything he could think of at the moment. He just wanted to get away.
There may not be any earth shattering revelations from your ex, but your closure can't come from your ex anyway. There may not ever be an answer, and realizing that is where the closure starts.
"Staying in the question" is a concept of letting go of judgments and preconceived ideas that you've formed about a particular thing and then accepting the reality of how things are. We don't need the answer to the question to accept the reality, and I think that is where a lot of people get hung up. Over thinking is a sure way to stay stuck in what was.
Picture a surgeon in the operating room. She removes the tumor, but doesn't sew up the patient. She stands by the operating table and cries out, "Why? Why did this patient get cancer in the first place? I can't move forward until I know! It may have been his diet, or genetics, or for God's sake, why did he take that job at the nuclear plant?!"
There may be any one of a hundred answers to the surgeon's question. She is stuck in the past searching for an answer- the patient will die waiting and guess what? She isn't going to find out the answer anyway.
The authentic, healing closure isn't so much going to come from any specific answer as it is going to come from accepting what is. I don't know why my friend passed away, but I don't need to know why. He has passed and I will honor his life by remembering his joie de vivre every time I eat a good meal or see an impeccably starched shirt.
I don't really have a specific reason why my marriage with X ended in divorce. I could infer some, based on conversations we had, but I would be interjecting my own subjectivity to suit my own needs into "his" answers. I know that there were a lot of things I could have done differently, and that is the only thing actually tangible. I'm not using these reasons to blame myself for anything, but I can use them as an honest self assessment and see the role I played, which is empowering- (as honesty usually is...)
Moving forward, I can live my current reality as my authentic self. I base my own self worth on who I am, not on my perception of X's reasons for leaving or my perception of who X thought I was. Even if I knew his why, it wouldn't change the now.
For me, life is no longer about agonizing over coming up with my version of acceptable answers to life's big questions. I'm okay with not knowing the why. The present moment is what is real, and I can focus on what IS now and bringing about the best of what is to be.