(Still) Living with Loss
I didn’t want to go here in our first few months of blogging, but to some extent the universe has forced my hand.
I confess: the transitions I’ve been trying to think through have long been colored, sometimes saturated, by persistent thoughts about death. At the same time, the drumbeat of sickness and loss that has thumped steadily for the last year or more has accelerated. I haven’t gone 48 hours in the last two weeks without hearing about another death: the death of a good friend’s parent, or child, or a suicide. For the last two weeks in many of my circles the refrain has been, “I’m so sorry” and especially, “It’s just too much.” A Terry Pratchett fan, I picture Death with his hood and scythe saying Welcome to Midlife, without cruelty or sarcasm. Just an almost sympathetic acknowledgment of the truth.
None of these losses are about me. It seems childishly selfish to see other people’s tragedies as life lessons for me. At the same time, it seems willfully obtuse not to try to learn from them. I feel strongly that the universe is not trying to send me a message about anything. But here I am, wanting to write about and through this phase of life, and the sadness of loss runs through this phase of life like an electrical current: you don’t want to grasp it directly, but try to turn away from it and you are pretty much powerless in the dark.
I really have no intention for this to be the Death and Dying Blog. Still, I wanted to write about buying eyeshadow for the first time in years, and then someone called me about a car accident. I wanted to write about energy, but someone e-mailed me an obituary. I wanted to fix the damn Facebook page for this blog, but my kids and I were making dozens of cupcakes for a funeral. So I’m writing this instead.
I assume this is not unusual. Loss and serious illness are not unique to me and my social circle. How do other people do it? How you do you dance over the top of that steady drumbeat instead of cowering behind the battlements?