50 Shades of Loss

Loss is a Natural Part of Life

What is Loss? A simple search reveals: “The state or feeling of grief when deprived of someone or something of value.”

Grief, we know is the natural consequence of loss. It may also be said that grief is a natural response or reaction to loss.

So let us really consider the first cause of grief….. loss. Something is missing. Something is lacking that causes us to long for the way things were.

There is the loss as a result of a new and wonderful life change. Marriage, moving by choice and the birth of a baby are each life events that hopefully have more happiness than sadness. Yet each has its own unique deprivation. The diminished freedom as a new relationship unfolds has its unique ‘edges’. Time to one’s self undoubtedly is changed by marriage and birth. Babies get their nights and days confused. This lack of sleep quickly takes its toll. Feelings of fatigue, irritation and even anger emerge. Where did the grown-up go? Moving away from family, friends and the familiar, can trigger grief. Certainly the mandatory downsizing that comes with moving due to increased need for care and assistance as we age, can trigger feelings down deep. Fear. Fear that I am no longer the independent person I used to be. Frustration with finding my way through this vast, beautiful hotel-like place called independent and assisted living. Sadness that the home I’ve always known is no longer safe for me to live in because there are too many stairs.

50 Shades of Loss

So I am curious. What are those miraculous milestones in your life that have also brought a sense of loss? I remember as a junior in high school being installed as Job’s Daughters Queen the first week of June, and seven days later boarding a plane in Omaha, Nebraska. The destination was New York City. There I boarded an ocean liner with 300 other high school American Field Service students. It was an adventure of a lifetime as we sailed toward Amsterdam for the next ten days. I can still feel the excitement of meeting new people. Me, a farm girl from Nebraska without the ground beneath me, but feeling perfectly safe aboard that ship. It was not until six weeks into raking hay at the crack of dawn each morning in the German countryside that the lack of sleep overwhelmed me. It was then I really felt my longings. Even though my mother and I wrote each week, I missed my parents, brothers and friends. The letters and cards intended as ‘I love you’ awakened that sadness that often accompanies change. I felt deprived of that connection in the late sixties. With no cell phone or computer, the weekly communication was inadequate. I was homesick even though I was dreaming in Germany, obviously adapting well in the moment.

49 Shades of Loss

So why are we even exploring this topic? Simply because when we live, we are called to look at life from its many facets. By bringing loss to light, we have the opportunity to consider the depth and breadth of relationship. It is relationship that evokes grief. We miss the extraordinary people, places and familiar events of our ordinary lives when we are fired from a job we love, move to a new city as the result of the perfect promotion, or marry the person of our dreams. Uniquely meaningful to us, deprived of the familiar, we grieve. When we are aware of what is REALLY happening, what we are feeling in our body and thoughts, grief then does not ambush the magical moments of our lives. We live more fully. So I am inviting 49 of you to reply with a loss. Your name and the loss you identify will be posted on face book Wednesday and possibly included in a video. Thank you.

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