Friday, March 26, 2010

The Profoundness of Loss

Loss is not describable. Not in the sense of loss of a loved one. I've lost my keys, my checkbook, important paper work many times. That is momentary panic followed by anger at one's self for not putting things where they belong. This is different. It's profound. An intangible feeling and sense that can't be duplicated. Those that have it can feel it, touch it, see it, taste it but it can't be described. I think that is why we seek out others who have shared our experiences. We are anxious for those who can relate.

I have, in my short widowhood, found many who have shared my sense of loss. It is a sad comfort. I need to know that others have suffered as I, and some more. It gives me a sick sense of belonging. I am an unfortunate member of a permanent club of which I cannot revoke my membership as all my dues are paid in full whether I like it or not. The thing about loss is it takes from you. It takes a piece of your soul and sense of reality. Others who have shared loss can see it in the faces of other members. We just know. When I think of this, I think of a friend I met a few years ago. Beautiful, smart, seeming to have it all, at least all that most would want but I sensed a longing in her. There seemed to be a sadness that shrouded her smile. I didn't know what it was but she shared it with me when I lost my husband. Her beautiful daughter was taken unexpectedly. In a moment, gone. Irrevocable, just like my Greg. No matter what happened the day before, what was intended, gone, forever.

The funny thing about funerals and people who have had profound losses is people will say the darnedest and seemingly sincere things. Many will talk to us about a sense of greater love and appreciation for loved ones. Lie. It is only emotionalism and sentimentality run riot. Give these speakers a few weeks and it is back to resentments and fueled distain for the intolerance of family members' shortcomings. Ask any married couple who shared with me a sense of greater appreciation for one another and a taking of marriage more seriously how that is going these days and it I bet it is, more or less, back to the same old thing.

I don't think, unless you have walked our path of loss, that it is possible to have that greater sense. I have it. It is like The Matrix. I took the Red Pill. I didn't know what I was taking but here it is. I live in an alternate universe. My sense of reality and life is so remarkably different than anyone else's. I wish they could know. I wish I could download my brain and help people see. All this, everything you have, everyone you know, everything you do, all that you make, all your investments, possessions or lack there of, everything is temporary. The sense of security in things and people that everyone has is false. It can be wiped out in an instant. I don't worry about these things any more. Not like I used to. I can't. I know better now. It is actually freeing!

Take for instance my house. It sold in about two weeks. Not my expectation but that is what happened. Instantaneously everyone wanted to know what I'd do next. Where would my stuff go? How long would I be in Florida? Would I be in Florida forever? Where would I be permanently? I kept answering "I don't know" and "I'll know when I get there". Not what most people wanted to hear. People without profound loss need to over plan. They need that sense of "I need to know what is going on". I know that doesn't always work that way. I am not worried. What works out will work out. Don't panic. Try explaining that to others.

For me, I am better than before. It is funny how life works that way. We have to experience pain to grow and be better people. My "Zen" is real. It is real because I trust in a God that sees the whole picture not the little, self-centered picture that I can see. No matter what, I can't get it wrong. The end result is His and His alone. What a sense of security in that!

Next up, I close and pack my house...stay tuned...


  1. Brit, thanks for sharing your profound feelings with us. I can't help but think about Nana Keene (Carrie Mae Wilder Keene, Carli's great-great grandmother). I wonder, if Nana could have put into words her thoughts and feelings when she lost her husband with a 4-year old daughter (Phyllis Marguerite Keene Purdy Dino; Carli's great-grandmother) in 1918. I wonder what it must have been like for Nana when her husband died, leaving her with 4 children, my dad, 17, Jane, 15, David, 10 and Bruce 7. I think they all could relate to your profound loss and the profound loss that Carli is experiencing but can't yet verbalize. Although they were adults, I think that the loss that Phil, Paul and Greg felt when Jane passed; especially for their father, was deeply profound.

    Not long after, cousins David and Kristine were in mourning following the loss of Uncle David and then cousins Adrienne and Brett and their children after losing Uncle Bruce.

    I feel as though you are speaking the words that none of them could have ever spoken. I think of my dad and how he was the oldest and buried his father and then his three siblings followed by his mother.

    You have managed to put into words, the thoughts and feelings of five generations of our family that have experienced profound loss.

    Carli's other, great-great grandmother, Lena Harris Perry Purdy, was 13 years old when her mother Alexina Carver Perry passed away (she was 49). I have the diaries of her last 4 years of life (1886, 1887, 1888 and 1889).

    I have the most beautiful letter written by her daughter Nettie Perry Joseph describing the last days of her mother's life and the funeral service, the ministers words, the flowers and the pain she felt.

    I wanted you to know that in a sad twist of fate, you and Carli share a bond with so many in our family. Your choices to sell the house and go on the road are things our ancestors could have never done.

    Although my dad did have to go on a Furlough from the Navy during the Korean War to go home and see his father pass on. Ironically, he too went on a road trip to Florida, but his ended with being taken into custody by the MP's for being AWOL (LOL).

    Now here you and Carli are, taking the unconventional road to healing in search of finding....what? A new meaning, a new direction, a new life......the sky is the limit and you are a brave woman.

    I'm proud of you and Brittany and I am here for you, as are Carli's big cousins, John and Jake. Please call me when you are ready to pack and move; we'll do whatever we can to help you girls out.

    Someday, I'd love to share with you the family tree and show you the letters, poems and diaries.

    Stay strong and know that by sharing the profoundness of your loss in such a profound way helps those of us on the outside of your reality, better understand.

    Thank you for touching my soul and "may God's Blessings keep you always" (Bob Dylan) "and may you stay, forever young."

    Cousin Jodi

  2. Brittany, If there is anything you need, please let me know.