Chapter 3: Challenges you may face

“Why” questions

The grief expert says
Roy speaks about how violent deaths often lead to 'what if' and 'why' questions and the importance of finding a story one can live with.(3:22)Video transcript

What would make someone do such a terrible thing?

Why did my sister die in the accident when I didn’t?

After a traumatic experience, you may become preoccupied with persistent or nagging “why” questions. Not being able to find answers can challenge your beliefs about other people or yourself, or about the world in general.

Sometimes the need to know “why” can become a heavy weight. If you previously felt confident in the “order” of things, you may now be struggling to come to terms with an event that was random or inexplicable. It can be frustrating and unnerving to be confronted with a situation where there are no satisfactory answers.

What may help

  • Remind yourself that you are dealing with a difficult experience and that your questions are normal and to be expected.
  • Try to gently allow yourself to consider that there may be some questions with no answers.
  • By asking “why not” instead of “why,” you may be able to shift your thinking. For example, you may be able to ease thoughts of self-blame or feelings of frustration, or you may feel less isolated in your grief, knowing that what happened could happen – or has happened – to others.
  • Learning to live with randomness or uncertainty isn’t easy and may take time. It’s important to be patient with yourself.