There have been many things that I have lost in my lifetime. I’ve lost family and friends, I’ve lost arguments and even my keys. Each loss has made its own impact and some I have let go, others not so much. I can just be sitting, thinking of someone or some thing when suddenly I feel a great sense of that loss. The feeling can be overwhelming and suddenly I find myself deeply saddened or curiously happy. What is it about loss that can evoke such a powerful response? Now, I’m no psychologist and I have never studied the human psyche but I do know how I feel and really that is all I can write about. When we do lose something it becomes very personal, our feelings are our own and no one can truly understand them. Sure, we have all faced some loss and might be able to empathize to some degree, but we all process our losses differently. At least that is my experience, I’ve seen some folks get very angry while others shut down or get very pensive. Some seem to be able to move from loss quickly, while others carry their loss like a piece of luggage. We also seem to be able to quantify our various losses, to lose a loved one takes on greater significance to just losing an item. As we grow up all of us face losses and yet if we examine those losses we can also see that what we gain balances them out. I have loved and lost and done that over and over, yet I find that the love I have today has made those losses less of a burden. Sure, they hurt at the time but they cannot begin to erase what I have in the moment. Each loss, like each love seems to be part of our growing as human beings, in fact love in and of itself requires taking a risk of the heart that might indeed include loss. I’ve lost love but dared to love again despite knowing that I could lose again. The delicate balance of love and loss is the stuff of poets and songwriters. We root for the couple on some television show to finally get together, to consummate their relationship and when one of those characters dies off we feel it deeply even though it is fiction. The fact that we are so easily drawn into those stories, poems and songs shows us how deeply our loves and losses impact our lives.
For some of us, our first loss is the one we most deeply feel throughout our lives. For myself, that loss came when my mother went to the hospital to give birth, to what would have been my brother, only to lose the child at the birth. Even though I would never see this child or experience him as a living being his death has made an impact on my life. The surreal quality of that loss, of not having any closure has given it an almost fictional like event. Being only six or seven years old at the time and still adjusting to having just moved into a new neighborhood, I always felt that I never fully processed what it all meant. As I reflect on that loss, I suspect that how I deal with any loss today is greatly influenced by that event. Over time, as I continue to write in this blog, I will like to come back to this topic. Take time to explore what it means to lose, to ponder the various emotions and spiritual dimensions, to dig deeper into my own humanity.