If there’s anything I’ve learned being a pediatric oncology nurse, it’s that bad things happen to really good people. And I mean… really good people. It’s almost too hard to comprehend on a level that helps me not question the larger plan. I’d be lying if I said I said I had the mindset “God’s will, God’s way” when I watch a child fighting for their life. It’s nearly impossible to not question all of the values you think you believe and that everything happens for a reason. Everything happens for a reason? I don’t always think so.
I’ve always had the mindset “everything happens for a reason”- no matter what the situation is. Bad breakup? It’s for a reason. Misplaced my car keys and left 5 minutes later than normal? It’s for a reason. Had an unplanned pregnancy? It’s for a reason. But all of these thoughts were before I stepped into the role of being a pediatric oncology nurse.
You cannot convince me that a child who has spent more of their life in the hospital than at home, is for a reason. You cannot convince me that attending the funeral of a child just short of turning 2 years old, is for a reason. And you cannot convince me that a child hearing they have no more options left and they have a few weeks max, to live, is for a reason. I’ve watched precious kids FIGHT for their life and WIN… to later relapse and have to do it all over again. You cannot convince me it’s for a reason! Kids spending their whole lives fighting to survive? Everything makes you stronger? Explain that to a five, ten or fifteen year old who is exhausted, but is still fighting to live.
I’d like to say I don’t question God and his plan during these times… but y’all… I do. I’m a human who has experienced more raw emotions and anxiety in 2 years taking care of incredible warriors and their families than I’ve ever had in my life! I get angry for these families, I fight for these families, I pray for these families… and sometimes, I even cry for these families. There’s not one thing I understand about why childhood cancer exists… not one thing.
Questioning the larger plan for these children doesn’t mean I don’t trust God as a whole. I do, which is why I wage war for the amazing kids and families I have the privilege of knowing. I do believe miracles can be performed, healing can take place and lives can be restored. But do I think one child getting to live and one child dying- all of the same disease, is for a reason? No. And if I did? I’d drive myself crazy trying to figure it out.
I think that “everything happens for a reason” gets thrown around because people are uncomfortable with other peoples pain. We’re so quick to want people to heal and move on from their pain, that we often look away and (unknowingly) minimize their situation. The truth is, everything doesn’t have to be okay. And it’s ok to not be okay. Unless there is a glaring reason (there’s not) why a parent just heard their child has cancer, a parent just heard “nothing more we can do” or a parent heard I’m so sorry, please take them home on hospice… then do not say that. Instead of telling our loved ones what we think they should hear, sometimes the best words are silence because friends… bad things happen to really really good people with no explanation.
“I don’t believe there’s a reason for everything, and having faith doesn’t mean I’m blind. I believe people make poor choices. I believe bad things happen to good people. I believe there’s evil in the word that I will never understand, but will never stop fighting.” -Tammara Webber