To a Friend, on the Loss of her Daughter by Carol P. Christ
Recently a friend told me that the teen-aged daughter of a friend of hers had committed suicide. “What would your thealogy say to that?” she asked me. Here is what I might say to a friend who lost her daughter:
I am so sorry for your loss. This never should have happened.
I remember times when I wanted to commit suicide. My pain was intense and my mind was stuck. All I could think was: this hurts too much to go on, and it will never change, so I might as well die. I am so sorry if your daughter felt that way, because I know it is a horrible way to feel. I am sorry she was not able to understand that it could have–and probably would have–changed. Don’t blame her. Sometimes pain is so overwhelming you really cannot see beyond it. Don’t blame yourself either. I am certain you did everything you could think of to help her. I know that if you could have prevented her, you would have. It really was not your fault. I don’t blame you, and no one else should either.
I also want to tell you that what happened to your daughter was not the will of God. Goddess, like you, felt you daughter’s suffering and reached out to try to help her. Like you, She did not have a magic wand. All She could offer was love and understanding. Right now Goddess is feeling your feelings of anger and sorrow that Her love and compassion and yours were not enough to comfort your daughter. Please do not torture yourself further by asking how this could have been the will of God. It was not. It really was not.
I know it may seem small comfort now, but Goddess is reaching out to you with understanding and love. She feels your feelings, and She wants you to know that you are not alone. There are other mothers like you who have survived great loss. She is there to help you find the strength to survive too. What happened really is an irreparable loss. Despite the pain you are feeling now and will always feel, there is still beauty in life. In time, you may see and feel the beauty of life again too. For now, pour your heart out to anyone who will listen, and when you can’t find anyone else, know that She is there. The path back to life will not be an easy path, but She will be with you all the way.
If anyone suggests to you that it was your fault, tell them to f*** off.
If anyone suggests to you that it was Goddess’s will, tell them to f*** off too!
If anyone suggests that it must have been “for the best,” tell them that it was not– because the best would have been for your daughter to find a way back to life.
I hope you will find your way back.
The will of Goddess is not a mystery. She wanted your daughter to live, and She wants you to find a way to live after losing your beloved daughter.
And to my friend I would add: This is how my thealogy makes sense of life as I know it– including the senseless parts of it.
Carol P. Christ is a founding mother in the study of women and religion, feminist theology, women’s spirituality, and the Goddess movement. She teaches online courses in the Women’s Spirituality program at CIIS. Her books include She Who Changes and Rebirth of the Goddess and the widely used anthologies Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions. One of her great joys is leading Goddess Pilgrimages to Crete through Ariadne Institute.