Loss is part of any transition in life. We lose our status as a single person or a coupled person. We lose our smooth skin, our ability to name all the presidents of the United States, our status as a community leader, our best friend, our first apartment, our ability to operate the most updated computer iteration! We lose things, abilities, status, people, security, peace, finances, stability, or control. We DO NOT LIKE LOSS! We want to hold onto to what was. We do not want to give up whatever we are in the process of losing. We feel as if we are diminishing. Loss destroys what we know as normal, the way things are supposed to be.
We grieve our losses. Sometimes we grieve in a big way and at other times we grieve in a small way. But we grieve. We remember what and who we have lost and wish that we had not had to endure the loss. Why couldn’t things just have remained the same? Why did loss have to happen to me? We become disoriented and may even feel victimized.
Loss is a necessary part of life. It is inevitable. The more I learn on this uncharted journey, the more I realize that loss is also a gift of life. Feeling grief means that I am alive, whether I want to be or not. Loss makes me know what and who I value. Loss makes me more aware of being aware for the next steps of my life. Loss hurts and kicks me in the rear and pushes me beyond what I know for sure and into the place where new life can happen, where the mystery of life emerges. Loss for Christians is always followed by the assurance of resurrection, of life when life seems impossible. The darkness is required so we can know light. The light will blind us without the respite of darkness.
Melody Beattie says in Stop Being Mean to Yourself: “Lives without pain, comedy, drama, irony, romance, suffering, some foolishness, and a dash of unrequited love would be like going to see a movie without a plot. It’s not that life is only pain, suffering, drama, and tragedy, but those elements are part of it. And always have been.”
Fortunately loss is only part of the Uncharted Journey. I love this poem, “Crying,” by Galway Kinnell from Three Books and printed in the Jan./Feb. 2014 of Spirituality and Health: “Crying only a little bit/ is no use. You must cry/ until your pillow is soaked! / Then you can get up and laugh/and splash-splash-splash! / Then you can throw open your window/ and, ‘Ha, ha! ha ha!’/ And if people say, ‘Hey/ What’s going on up there?’ / ‘Ha, ha!’ sing back, ‘Happiness / was hiding in the last tear! / I wept it! Ha ha!’”