I don't understand why hot dogs come in packages of 10 and buns in packages of 8. I don't understand where lost socks go. I don't understand why it only rains when I wash my car or wear suede shoes.
I don't understand supernatural phenomena. Unlike my husband, I've never seen a UFO or a ghost. I've never had a premonition. Sometimes, I have eerie coincidences, but that's about as close as I get to anything that requires eerie music in the soundtrack of my life.
I don't understand diseases I can't see, touch, or that medical professionals cannot extract or show me on a scan. Which means I don't understand most psychological disorders.
I don't understand addiction - I like a good buzz now and then too, but how can you not walk away from alcohol, cigarettes, or other destructive substances that you can't seem to control consuming in large quantities, regardless of the outcome to your job, your relationships, or your life. It doesn't seem logical.
I don't understand panic attacks and anxiety disorders. Have my knees ever gotten a little shaky during a speech in front of a big audience? Sure. Have I ever been unable to leave my house to go the grocery store? No.
I don't understand depression. I do know what it's like to want to pull the covers back up over my head some mornings. I don't know what its like to have that feeling every day for months on end with no light at the end of the tunnel.
Don't get me wrong. I'm sympathetic. I try to keep an open mind, realizing that just because I cannot conceive of anxiety, multiple personalities, chronic fatigue, depression, or any other "ism" involving the brain doesn't mean it's not real, shouldn't be treated, or can't be as debilitating as traditional corporeal illnesses.
But my lack of understanding has gotten me shaking my head again. I learned Friday that I lost an uncle - to suicide. No obvious signs of depression or problems. He'd recently been laid off from work - but these days, who hasn't? No note. No messages for anyone - not his wife, his kids, his grandkids, his friends. A single call to 911 telling them where to find him.
I started to ask myself why, and forced myself to stop. Without an obvious clearly articulated essay by the victim, I'll never get to a satisfactory "why" by myself because . . . well, I don't understand it. And probably never will. It's just not something I can ever conceive of, even in the worst of circumstances.
I've spoken to my mother multiple times this weekend, trying to help her plan and think and sort it out. I caught her doing the same thing . . . "I just don't understand 'why' . . ." And I stopped her.
"You can't keep asking yourself that question, Mom, or you'll be asking it forever. We'll never understand."
What I really meant was "I'll never understand."