Last night my youngest daughter,
asked me through tears,
She had been told that,
her school friends little brother,
was very sick.
He is five years old.
Over the past ten months,
my daughter has also watched another family,
live the nightmare of having a very sick child.
Thankfully that young boy,
who is only thirteen,
is, for now anyway, recovering well,
from a bone marrow transplant for leukemia.
As she sat sobbing in my lap,
I felt so sad for her.
I have three other older children,
who have been able to race through childhood,
happy and carefree.
Never having to face such uncertainty.
Never for a moment having to question,
life after death.
Certainly never having to face,
at such a young age,
the awful threat of life ending for a child.
She was in desperate need of answers.
“Why was he sick?”.
“Why did this happen?”
As she sat in my arms,
her face tear streaked,
asking these questions,
I realized I could not help her.
I have no faith.
I have no God.
No heaven. No angels. No happy ever after.
I wish I did, but I don’t.
But my little girl needed that.
She needed the “fairytale”,
she needed something to soften the blow.
I am usually a great actress,
and a wonderful liar,
when the situation demands it.
Yet last night I could do neither.
I am more than comfortable,
with my own lack of faith.
It has taken me all these years to get here,
but I think a child of eleven,
facing up to the reality of death,
and the uncertainty of life,
should be given a softer message.
I see my husband, and friends,
and how comforting religion is for them.
I read posts of others,
who have very strong faith,
which helps them make sense,
of dreadful situations.
I want that for my daughter.
Unbelievable as it may seem,
I, the one who does not believe,
wants my daughter to have faith.
I don’t know how to achieve this,
as she understands and accepts,
that I don’t “do Mass”.
As is the case of many children,
of stay at home mothers,
I am a strong influence in her life.
Yet over the years,
I have always been careful,
not to dismiss religion,
in her presence.
I have never said out loud,
that I have no faith,
but my lack of words about God,
has in itself spoken volumes.
So I am faced with this situation.
What will I do?
What can I do?
How can I give her solace at this time?
My immediate thoughts are,
to pass a lot of this to her Dad.
He can speak from the heart,
about his belief,
and hopefully give her comfort.
I will be there when he does,
so she may think I agree,
and I might even manage to lie convincingly.
In the other moments,
when she looks to me,
and asks “why?”,
I can truthfully answer,
“Sweetheart, I just don’t know”.