Friday, November 13, 2009

Lost

There are different levels of loss.  They range from the loss my son feels when he loses half his cookie  on the floor to the heart-wrenching loss of a child, or a spouse of many years.

On the other hand, the feeling of loss is not necessarily connected to the monetary value of the missing item or the relationship of the person who is no longer a part of daily life.  It is completely bound up in the value we attach to the thing or person, and our ability to go forward when it is no longer a part of life.

So, people have committed suicide over money problems, not wanting to face the difficulties involved with a loss of prestige or lifestyle.  People have also emerged from debilitating injury or disease with a smile and sense of hope.  Although nothing can change the sense of grief and pain at losing something important or someone close to us, it is up to us to redeem those feelings into something of value.

After attending the funeral of a family member, I was struck with the fact that all that was left was… memories.  In fact, since he had Alzheimer’s, it had been some time since we had been able to carry on a conversation with him, and that the family had been dealing with the loss of their father, grandfather, brother, and friend for years before his body gave way. 

I was struck by the tears shed by his great-grandchildren, who could not have known the man well, but whose hearts were tender enough to feel the sense of loss in those close to them.  It is hard to see someone we love grieve.  All we can do is be there, and empathize with the feelings of loss.  Eventually, with proper care, as with physical trauma, the pain subsides, and the wounds begin to heal.

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