(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?

About mina

Like a rock: sometimes hard, sometimes crumbly, occasionally brilliant, sometimes dense.

Posted on June 25, 2011, in questions, transitions. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I am so sad about all you are dealing with. I don’t think we dance over it and we can’t hide. We have to walk through it. Even when that is really hard. Walking through the pain is the hardest part. It is easier to avoid and hide. Peace to you and yours.

  2. These things do seem to cluster, and it can be so emotionally devastating. I’m sorry for all the sadness.

    A few years ago, in a short period of time, a beloved uncle passed and a college friend of mine lost her battle with cancer in her mid-30s, leaving behind a preschool-aged child and her husband, another friend’s teenage son chose suicide and I discovered that my college love had also chosen suicide a few months earlier.

    I remember feeling numb and also flattened by the sadness inherent in life for awhile. It took some time, but eventually I stopped thinking so much about death and illness and sadness.

    Allow yourself some time and please recognize that this isn’t a permanent state, even for this life stage, ok?

  3. Beautifully written. So much of what happens around us, the things that are just out of reach, are difficult to process because we cling to this expectation that we are to be there for those for whom the tragedy impacted directly. And we should be there for them, but we will lose ourselves if we don’t acknowledge our own need to be comforted.

    It has been a difficult week for so many. I hope each and every person takes time to think of themselves while they are sending out those thoughts, prayers, meals, memorials, and more to the families for whom so many of us can’t even find the words to send them.

  4. Sometimes I wallow, honestly. I listen to songs that I know will make me cry. I look at old photographs and go to places that are thick with memories and I cry. Not every day but hopefully enough.

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