I Need To Know The Answer

About six months ago, we were waiting for the results of genetic testing on Alfie’s post-mortem DNA. Why did our son die? And what did this mean for future family-making plans? I was gripped in the clutches of an all-familiar story, “I need to know the answer.”

We’d been advised that the scientists in the hospital lab might not be able to get a read from the very tiny sample of his DNA, but I had a strong preference that they would. I needed clarity, I needed closure, I needed to know.

Where in your life right now are you needing to know an answer?
Where are you craving certainty about how things are going to pan out?

The phone call came on the motorway. I wasn’t driving so I took the call and listened on loud speaker with a pounding heart as our geneticist told us that they’d been able to get a read on the DNA (yes!). They’d run the test to see if Alfie had a specific genetic condition she suspected… and it had come back negative. It was the geneticist’s best educated guess as to why he’d died, but it had led us to a dead end. She didn’t have an answer for us and couldn’t see a next obvious path to pursue.

I waited for the despair to come, the despair I’d been anticipating. I waited… but there in the car as it sped along the motorway, all I felt was relief. Freedom. Release.

We didn’t know why he died. We possibly never would. And all I could feel was an unexpected, whole-body, whole-being release. I felt I could exhale in the first time in forever. I was no longer pursuing knowledge; I was no longer holding out for certainty. I’d been liberated.

We couldn’t visualise Alfie with a particular genetic condition and nor could anybody else; he got to remain a ‘man of mystery’, keeping his secrets (for the time being at least).

The uncertainty allowed us to move forward into more fertility treatment and another pregnancy with zero knowledge of whether what happened with Alfie would happen again. We were no longer clutching at firm guarantees; we were taking our chances, seeing where life would take us.

What do you think that an answer will give you?
Could peace be available to you right here and now, with or without the answer?


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