“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.” — Frank Lloyd Wright
In Healing Your Grieving Heart After Stillbirth, authors Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. and Raelynn Maloney, Ph.D. recommend a healing technique of writing a letter to your Higher Power. They relate the idea in psychology that writing and journaling help us understand our thoughts and emotions better when we put them down on paper, often in doing so we gain a different perspective about our emotions and thoughts.
So, I decided to do this exercise myself and here is what I came up with:
God, Higher Power, Universe?,First off, I want to say this letter is difficult for me to write for two reasons: #1. because frankly, I don’t know if I believe in you. You being a “higher power.” #2. I’m really angry that you stole my child (if you do exist). This is all very confusing. Let’s start with number one.You see I fall under the philosophy that all the names for you are misleading, for show me a human who has met you and lived to tell about it. See, right there you set humans up with a conundrum. Is that fair? Fair, huh. You don’t play that way. You see, if you are real (and with me that is a very big IF) then I have a huge bone to pick with you going back to my #2, being that you stole my daughter.Yup, I said it. If you are “real” and omnipotent and all powerful what did I do for you to decide to take my daughter? I mean really? What did I do? Is it that I questioned you? That’s not fair! It was a cruel joke you played. Giving me hope of motherhood and then so quickly taking it away.I know people say things like “God has a plan.” and “He needed another angel in heaven.” and “Everything has a reason.” But frankly Higher Power, that’s bullshit in my mind! If you have a plan, then the least you could do is fill me in on it! Right?You know if you questioned my faith when I was pregnant, didn’t you hear my atheist prayers. Yes even when I was as an atheist I prayed. I bargained even! I would stand in the shower every morning underneath the warm stream of water, caressing my large pregnant belly as I would barter my life for hers. Saying, no praying, “Please just let her be healthy. Please keep her safe. Please if you have to, take my life for hers.”So GOD, were those not good enough prayers?I know dear Universe, I know that you are not punishing me do to my lack of faith. As I have seen you test many devoted faith based friends of mine with the same challenge put before me. But I still ask, God, if you know the pain of losing your only child, then why inflict it on others? I did not birth my child into this world with the plan of having her “save anyone”. She will never have the opportunity to do so because you took her away.You know Universe… I’m not even sure if you took her away. I don’t know if I believe in you but...I also don’t think that I shouldn't be so selfish to believe you would be out to get me.I just don’t know. I guess I’m okay with not knowing.I do have to tell you. I’m not all angry. I still have moments of joy. I still see beauty. You know what; sometimes I am washed in unconditional love for no reason or the kindness of others makes me feel more connected, more loved. And like I have said before, that is where I find you.
Whoever you are?
That is where I find my version of God; through the love and light in others. There’s so much beauty in that. There is so much awe in the Universe that I don’t think I would ever be able to understand it all.That’s it for now. Maybe we will speak again sometime soon?Love & Forever Questioning,Your Child of the UniverseP.S. This is how I like to imagine my image of you . I am made of “starstuff” and so is my sweet Nora.
“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”
~ Carl Sagan
This was a very confusing, emotional, and somewhat bi-polar letter to a higher power. In the end I'm not sure if I found it helpful to write. But it did help me explore my complex emotions of my grief and get out of my head the life questioning themes I have been having as of late, including my helplessness, my sense of insecurity, and betrayal.
Writing a letter to a God I question at least allowed me to get my thoughts down on paper and out of my head. Of course, until they arise again.
This exercise of letter writing to your higher power could be very beneficial to those like me questioning their faith, or for those who before their loss had faith and now struggle to find it again. Some suggested questions to consider are:
- Tell your higher power how you feel about what happened to you after the death of your child.
- Write to your higher power about the questions you have now and the feelings about those questions.
- You could also ask your higher power for guidance and help in your grief process.
- You could explore in writing your relationship you now have with your higher power.