Some Questions Cannot Be Answered

Last week I attended the funeral for the nephew of a friend. Franco was just 4 ½ when he left this world after many months of battling an inoperable brain tumor.

The thought that my daughter is just 6-months older than Franco kept poking up into my mind while I sat on the hard bench of the Catholic church waiting for the service to begin.

Questions came up: What if this happened to Ella? How would I react? What would I feel right now if it was Ella in that tiny casket? Could I handle it with the dignity and grace that Franco’s family was bringing? Why did Franco have to die? Why did a beautiful 4 ½ year old boy who brought such joy to his family and to the world have to die?

As if reading my mind – and probably the minds of many people in that church – the priest began his service in a surprising manner. He said that he didn’t have the answer. He said that he could stand up there at the service of the 95 year old grandmother and say that she had lived a “good, full, long” life. Why is her death “right” but not Franco’s?

But he couldn’t tell us “why” Franco had died.

Are there answers to that question? Of course there are.

You could say, “There is a reason for everything,” or “It was his time,” or “His death opened the possibility for those he left behind to grow and evolve,” or “Death is the natural flow out of life.” Or, as the priest said, “He is with God in heaven now.”

All of those may be true. But they are not The Truth. We just don’t know why a four year old has to die.

We just don’t know why thousands of people had to die during the attacks of 9/11.

We don’t know why babies are killed in wars.

We don’t know why anyone is killed in wars.

We don’t know why people are murdered.

We don’t know. We can’t know.

In the days following Franco’s funeral, I sat with the thought of Franco’s death and the priest’s acknowledgment that there are some questions that cannot be answered. And I began to play with the idea of letting go of the need for answers.

What if Franco just died and there is no reason, no answer? What if we are just meant to be with the experience and release the need for an answer?

I felt a huge surge of energy as that thought moved through me.

You see, we all have unanswerable questions about our own lives: Questions that occupy far too much of our time and energy.

For me, as an adopted child, the question that I have asked throughout my life is, “Why did my mother give me up for adoption.” And when I have been in a less positive space that question has been, “Why did my mother abandon me.” Or, “Why didn’t she love me.”

For the first 23 years of my life I sought the answer on my own. I would find an answer that felt “right” for a while, only to discover some new twist or hidden place inside of me that did not fit into that answer.

When I met my biological mother over 20-years ago, I began probing for information that could help me find THE answer. The question was no longer hypothetical. There was an actual person to ask and I was able to hear her answers. I could ask, “Why did YOU give me up for adoption?”

And in these last 20-years we have talked and cried and done healing work together, including rituals of forgiveness. And while her answers make “sense” to my mind, they can never satisfy the questioning of the wounded part within me.

That part of me, the wounded part within, will never hear THE answer because there is no answer that will satisfy that part of me.

The question itself is unanswerable.

How much time and energy have I have spent seeking that answer, the answer that does not exist? I could never even begin to measure how much of my life has been spent (wasted?) seeking that answer.

You could say that the answer to that question has been my holy grail. And now, with the help of a Catholic priest and a beautiful 4 year old boy, I see that the only way to find the grail is to release the question.

And I believe we all have a question like that.

You have a question that is unanswerable, a question that takes your time, saps your strength, and drains your energy.

Your question may be:

“Why did my father leave me?”

“Why was I abused?”

“Why didn’t my mother love me as much as my sister?”

“Why did my parents wish I was a boy?”

“Why did my brother have to die?”

You know your unanswerable question. You know the question that drives you, that directs your life. Are you willing to accept that this question cannot be answered?

To leave the question unanswered does not mean that you are denying what happened. It does not mean that you are denying the pain of the experience.

No. In fact, just the opposite. When you let go of the question, when you accept that the question can never be answered, you allow yourself to embrace the experience fully. You allow yourself to feel it fully. And in doing so, you open the doorway to the possibility of releasing the charge that this question and this past experience holds over you.

How much energy would you gain if you could release your unanswerable question?

As I move more fully into accepting that I can never answer the question, “Why did my mother give me up for adoption,” I feel more and more energy flowing into and through me. The energy I have been using to seek that answer, both consciously and unconsciously, is now available for other pursuits. Now, I can focus that energy in new and powerful ways.

So what is your unanswerable question?

And is it possible that the time has come for you to accept that this question can never be answered?

I hope so.

And I wonder, could it be possible that Franco died so that those of us left behind might begin to understand that some questions have no answers?

Or is that just another attempt to put an answer on what is essentially unanswerable?

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    13 Responses to “Some Questions Cannot Be Answered”

    1. Angie Lay on November 10th, 2008 8:12 pm

      Wow, Ed. Profound and insightful post! Even though the question of why Franco had to die remains unanswered, his life touched many others through your very questioning of it.

      The questioning of your adoption, the unanswered questions your readers may have. Hence, his death brings insight, learning and wisdom to countless others in a way he never could have known.

      And for that, in his 4 1/2 years, he may have taught us more than many people never learn in a lifetime.

      Take care,

      Angie

    2. Alison Appiah on November 10th, 2008 2:11 pm

      Thank you Edward. I find your honesty about your own personal experiences inspiring, this post both interesting and thought-provoking, and admire your sensitive approach to this matter.

    3. Loreen Richer on November 10th, 2008 2:21 pm

      I love what you have to say! I was diagnosed with CFS almost 20 years ago, no longer identify with it, except to explain how it was the catalyst (and gift) to learn about energy. I have studied Mind/Body Medicine for 12 years and have my teaching certificate. Thank you for what you are doing, and all the best to you.

      Loreen

    4. Terry Orie on November 10th, 2008 5:48 pm

      Do some questions have no answers? Well, as you have experienced, Ed, some questions have no answers that we accept. Maybe it’s that some questions are not as important as we make them out to be. That’s what your post has brought me to. I, like you, have used energy, both consciously and unconsciously, to seek answers to a question (or questions) that, now that I stop and really look at it, are truly not relevant to the present joy, happiness, love, freedom, and success that I seek to (and) experience in the world. Truly not relevant. What a revelation. So simple. Let it go. Ok my friend – I will let it go – I will let it go – I WILL let it go. let it go…

    5. Tatiana on November 10th, 2008 7:06 pm

      Most questions of the heart have no logical answers; trying to answer them is just another trick of our mind trying to fit everything into a nice logical framework, or a container with fixed capacity, as you explained in one of your audios. Your audios about money have given me so much clarity; I am very grateful for the work you are doing, you have helped me more than you can imagine; I am not rich yet, but I’m happy and I feel the power that is in me. Thank you!

    6. tarun soni on November 10th, 2008 7:58 pm

      All questions related to mystries are UNANSWRED IS ONLY -THE GREAT ANSWER.That there is NO ANSWER …….is ONLY SINGLE & EXACT ANSWER.Which lead the direction to keep HUMINITY to ALIVE to Let Go…Let Go …..to GROW….& to keep Flow…..for Advancemet………Unanswer is the Fragrance.Life is for Flowing like waves. No Answer is the Rich Answer to keep on vibrating & Flowing naturally with Joy.and Lasly I LOVE WHAT YOU SAY! is greatly inspiring to keep go on…….GO AHEAD…..

    7. Rachel Flower on November 10th, 2008 9:05 pm

      Thank you Ed for your profound words. What comes to me immediately on reading this is recalling the story my husband Benjamin tells me of the death of his first wife and two children. She was given platelets with tainted blood 10 hours before the birth of their first child. It was 3 years, and another birth later before they discovered that all three were infected with AIDS… and all three – a young mother and two lovely children – died over a period of 13 years. Why them? Why did she receive that blood when really it was just ‘a precaution’? Why did those beautiful children never get to live a full and healthy life? So many questions anyone would feel completely justified in asking. He asked them for years… and yet also moved through deep, powerful healing and opening. The deaths broke him open in a way he never could have done (so he says and which has actually been confirmed by a top astrologer). He got to deeply appreciate life and tells with great love of the last year he got to spend care-taking his 12 year old child, living each day as if it was his last, learning from this ancient and beautiful being who was wise way beyond his years. Learning about the deeper aspects of life.
      Ed, you write so beautifully of the inevitable pain and confusion that loss of a child inevitably brings. For benjamin he draws from his rich experience of that life/death borderland through writing – novels, screenplays, non-fiction, and because he has touched the deeper aspects of life, his characters are rich and real and believable and multidimensional.
      Ed, you write of your own profound questions about ‘abandonment’ and the ultimate joy of release when we let go of needing to know. And that brings you to the beautiful conclusion of the piece – at the end of the day it’s about energy – what I choose to hold onto and what I choose to release. What I choose to honor with my awareness and what I choose to let go. That is so it. Benjamin chose not to live in bitterness and ‘why me?’ – he lives in the opening and the possibility and not in the need to know. That is the ultimate answer. Thank you for your beautiful words.

    8. Aruni on November 11th, 2008 5:18 pm

      Wonderful post Ed. It is so true…I know I seek answers to many questions that there is probably no good answer for. I’m working on letting go myself…it’s not easy!

    9. Tessa on November 12th, 2008 5:22 am

      You have such a heartwarming post here. Life is indeed a mystery and we all have so many questions that may not be answered but all we need it to at least have a little faith and things will fall into places for us.

    10. Edward Mills on November 12th, 2008 10:25 pm

      @Alison: Thank you!

      @Loreen: Such a great point to stop identifying with the labels that are placed upon us. A diagnosis may be “true” but it is not necessarily the Truth. Good work using it as a catalyst to grow rather than an anchor to weigh you down!

      @Terry: You go! I mean let it go! 😉

      @Tatiana: You are so right that our minds are tricky. Questions and the search for their answers often keep us so busy that we don’t have the time or space to enter our heart. And, as you mentioned, it is the heart that has the answers… and the right questions!

    11. Edward Mills on November 12th, 2008 10:34 pm

      @Angie: Yes, Franco has touched many people. His death has brought opening and insight to people who, otherwise, would not have known him. It still is not the answer to the question why. But it certainly can bring some meaning to the experience.

      @Rachel: Thank you for your beautiful thoughts. So much wisdom in your comment and in the insights that Benjamin brought to and learned from his experience. The two that really stand out for me are Benjamin’s presence that he brought to the last year of his child’s life. What a gift that must have been! And the willingness to fully experience the pain without bitterness or becoming a victim. “Why” is almost always a question that comes from a victim space. And “why me” is always a victim based question. Bravo to Benjamin for his wisdom and willingness to share his insights in so many creative ways!

    12. Edward Mills on November 12th, 2008 10:36 pm

      @Aruni: No, it’s not easy. Letting go of the questions is most definitely a process that, for most people will last a lifetime. But the fact that you have begun to let go of them means that you are on the path. And that’s a wonderful place to be.

      @Tessa: It is truly amazing what a little faith can do!

    13. Jane Sheppard on November 14th, 2008 2:10 pm

      Thanks for these beautiful insights, Ed! I was thinking and feeling the same thing sitting next to you there at that funeral. And thinking of how much I appreciate and savor the time I have with my daughter.

      I’ve been grappling with the questions about Franco ever since he was diagnosed and trying to find the answers, alway with a lot of hope. But I do realize there are no answers. I do believe that there really is no death, and we can celebrate Franco now in his wholeness and pure, positive energy. And I can respect the mystery and the unknown. And let it go in order to fully appreciate my life and my daughter even more.

      Jane

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