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Finding strength through faith

How important is faith in making it through a difficult time? And when times become so hard, so painful, how do you maintain that faith?

I’m not questioning my own belief, necessarily, just looking for a way to make sense of life, which can, at times, seem so unfair.

The whole tragedy of Dana Reeve was a real slap in the face, and I didn’t even know the woman. Reeve, as I sure you’ve heard, is the wife of actor Christopher Reeve. She announced in August she had lung cancer and succumbed to the disease Monday. The couple has a 13-year-old son.

Why did either of them have to endure such hardship, and worse, why did their son have to loose both his parents in such a short time and in such a horrific way?

I don’t know.

That tragic situation does not give me any answers, but it has certainly helped put into some kind of perspective the deluge of terrible news I received this week.

First, my uncle was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer that has spread to his lymph nodes. He must undergo surgery later this month, then face six months of chemotherapy.

Then, my brother’s friend lost his teenage son in a car accident.

Finally, one of my dearest friends lost her grandmother Friday morning. Most people face losing a grandparent at some point, but this was a particularly heartbreaking loss because my friend, Erica, was practically raised by her grandmother after her own mother died of cancer when Erica was very young.

Her grandmother had been ill, but I prayed that she could stay with us to see Erica get married in September.

It is so easy to ask “Why?” But I try not to do that. And I don’t feel sorry for myself.

I just hurt for my loved ones who are in pain, and I feel helpless because there is nothing I can do to truly ease it.

I hurt for my uncle, who is faced with a long, hard fight with what some have called a silent killer. He is too young to have begun screening for the cancer. Not that that means anything. Last year my husband lost a good friend to the disease n a man only in his early 30s.

I hurt for my aunt, who is faced with the possibility of losing her partner and best friend of over 20 years.

I hurt for their four children, my cousins, ages 4-15, because kids that age should never even have to think about what life might be like without their dad.

I hurt for Erica, who is one of the sweetest, most considerate people I have ever known and who has already faced enough tragedy in her young life.

As I told my younger sister, who is truly shaken by all of this, I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, and, more importantly, in the power of prayer.

But I remember, too, the promise the Virgin Mary made to Bernadette Soubirous, now known as St. Bernadette,

when she appeared to her in Lourdes, France: “I cannot make you happy in this world, only in the next.”

To me, it is a reminder that life isn’t necessarily supposed to be completely fair and free of pain. If it were, why have a heaven? I try to rest a little easier with that thought. Not that it takes away the pain of today, but it leaves hope for tomorrow.

McKnight-Taylor is a News-Herald staff writer. Contact her at ashley.taylor@suffolknewsherlad.com