About stuff (including me and writing)

Monday, August 11, 2014

A year in the life of losing

I wrote this last week, for processing, got it out of my system, decided not to post, then fell back into it, reading about Robin Williams. Depression and addiction are. (I sat here trying to add another word to that sentence for five minutes. But, period.) Telling a couple of people, “I can’t,” when I’ve been so depressed I’m no longer convincing everyone I’m okay, and allowing them to help me, have been some of the most right things I’ve done. So, in case it’s meaningful:

Tomorrow I really need to finish writing my academic department’s annual report. How was your year? How was your summer vacation? What did you accomplish this year?

In July 2013, my 12-year-old, 170,000-mile car died.

In December, my maybe 13-year-old, eight-and-a-half-years-companion cat died.

In February, one of two full-time faculty colleagues and friends in my department left after five years, for an amazing opportunity in the industry. In May, the second one left after eight years, for an amazing opportunity in a whole other industry. In March and May, some other significant colleagues left, too.

Sometimes my therapist reminds me, it might not be me (but it's real, and it's loss). (See below gif, originally inserted here for a little change of pace.)

In April, my upstairs neighbor of eight years (and colleague for five years before) died.

In June, a special friend I’d known and loved since I was 19 committed suicide.

In July, my alma mater and employer of 13 years and place of community and friendships. . . I don’t know how to articulate this loss. Changed its public identity, broke or severely weakened and bruised some valuable, deep relationships.

But it’s still here. And I’m still here. The thing about loss is, it’s there when its name pretends it’s gone. There in new footsteps upstairs, in Facebook telling me nearly every day that Tom “likes” a brand, in photos everywhere I look and stacks of unused catfood bowls, in maybe 75 percent of the conversations I’ve been a part of in the last five weeks. In the shock of familiarity and tragedy of headlines.

I guess the point is, how was your year? What did you do this summer? Find a way to acknowledge and share it if you can. Silence, passage of time, even really good, new stuff happening, doesn’t make loss not loss.

p.s. Please, of course, we remember and say with gratitude and truth, the person or other thing lost is not reduced to or defined by the loss, nor the griever by her grief!

Fisher King
Good Morning, Vietnam
Good Will Hunting
Dead Poets Society

1 comment:

Luther Cobbey said...

Thanks. Great post.