I used to believe in something I called Cosmic Hints. Big signals from the universe about what I should or shouldn’t do, did or didn’t want. I believed the universe was looking out for me, particularly, and putting symbols and metaphors in my path that helped me see who I was and who I wanted to be. I was forever in search of the Big Why—constantly looking for meaning, making narratives that sewed together the events of my life, the coincidences and conditions and happenstances, into something that was leading somewhere, and meaning something.
I believed, strongly and vocally, that Everything Happens for a Reason.
Then my brother died, when I was 30 and he was 32. He had something called pseudomyxoma peritonei—a cancerous abdominal tumor. It affects about one person in a million. Talk about a Cosmic Hint!
Except, what was it trying to tell me? And why would it kill my brother? Was my attention that hard to get? And why did I think my brother’s death was about me, anyway? How self-absorbed do you have to be to derive that meaning out of something so senseless? And if that wasn’t what Chris’s death was about, then what…