Lost and Found

lost and found tagAs a child, I don’t recall much loss, and the same throughout my teenage years. There must have been some, and at the time, I assume I responded accordingly. My life was filled with so much happiness and love, that I suppose I was able to just get on with it, or I blocked it out. As a young adult, I remember the loss of family, hitting me hard, but not lasting any great length of time. I can look back now and see the stages of grief I went through, depending on the relation, and how close I was to them in life. My focus¬†seemed to lie with how my parents felt about the loss, not so much me. I can remember thinking about how much they were hurting, and that is what made me sad.

When I married, and had kids of my own, the idea of loss was much greater. I had so much more to lose, much more that was precious to me. I also had a clearer sense of how I responded to loss; part of my journey on getting to know myself better. (…and I just noticed that I put my comfy shorts on inside-out; I wondered why they seemed darker…brb)

There are many different types of loss: death, ability, material things, relationships, plus. At one time in my life, the loss of material things was much greater. Now, yes I will be upset at it, but I will also recover very quickly from it. Even my photo albums, with all the wonderful expressions, and celebrations, and thoughts on the pages, don’t have a hold on me anymore. Again, I would be ticked, but what I have in this world with me now, is of much greater importance.

The loss of my marriage, of the white picket fence, the fairy tale, hit me the hardest, and I also learned the most about myself. My worry for my kids was front and center, and yet I knew there could be no other way. It was the best thing for everyone, and everyone will, in their own time, see that. I came out of that with a wealth of self knowledge and wisdom, that I can draw from.

With aging parents comes my experience with the loss of ability. It is like beginning the grieving process, and putting a hold on it, until the next noticeable change in behaviour, mentally or physically. For me, it feels a little less traumatic, spreading out the anguish into little parts, instead of one giant cry-fest. Learning to adjust to the changes in smaller increments, less pressure, less stress, a transitioning. As I go through it, I can discover my patterns, and adjust my behaviour, my reactions, with a sense of knowing, and an understanding.

As my kids grow into young adults, I experience second-hand loss. I watch their challenges, wins and losses, and grieve on their behalf, for I only want everything in the world for them. I’m not sure how much they actually process, when I share my life experiences with them, in hopes of alleviating some of their hardships. Even though I’m well aware that we have our own journeys and life lessons, I am full of great advice.

With the years beginning to add up on me, I’ve accumulated some losses, and looking back, the best conclusion I can see is; the less we have in material things, the greater the space in our minds, the less traumatic a loss will be. If you have the space to feel and to process and to love; less trauma, more peace. A knowing that the connection you’ve created from clearing the clutter (say that fast five times), will give you strength and the endurance that is needed to continue on. In loss, you find life.

Feel free to add your comments, they are always welcomed!

Writing 101

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Road Trip

“Thank god we only have an hour or so to go,” I moaned. “My back is killing me. These seats are crappy.” We were in a small car, overstuffed with–possibly–unnecessary items, leaving too small a space for two larger bodies. My brother and I are headed to Nakusp, a small village surrounded by mountains, lakes, and rivers, in South Central British Columbia.

pothole dirt roadOur Uncle Jack moved there in his early twenties, as there were lots of forestry jobs. Jack, being a loner, bought some property somewhere around there, and lived all the rest of his days in the wilderness. Whatever. He willed this property to us, and in order for us to claim it, we have to spend no less than three weeks, living in the small cabin.

“All I can say is, there better damn well be some electricity.”

A sigh from the passenger seat, “It will be fine. I’m looking forward to the peace and quiet.”

“Christ, that’s your answer for everything,” I said. Lukas was infuriating, with his lackadaisical attitude, as if this was nothing more to him than a bloody vacation. “Did you get the part about it being a village?” I asked, trying to get my point across. “That means it is small, and who knows where this cabin is. Does it have a toilet or a stupid, stinking outhouse?”

Lukas replied, “I don’t know Sis, but we’ll find out pretty quick.” He turned his head to look out the window. He was avoiding me, again.

“I need you to drive the last hour. My eyes are getting tired.”

There were a few logging trucks that passed us about half an hour ago, but none since, so I pulled partially off the road, to the narrow gravel strip that separated the two lane road from a five-foot ditch. I figured we would have enough time to switch, while it was quiet.

I groaned as I squeezed out from the driver’s seat, “This is bloody ridiculous. We are already in the middle of nowhere. I can’t believe we have to stay there. Tell me the point of all this. Tell me this is worth it.” I’m sure Lukas tuned me out as he wandered down the ditch.

“I can’t hear you. Give me a minute. I’m just taking a leak.”

Getting in the passenger side was much easier with no steering wheel in the way. “This is a little better,” I said to myself, stretching my legs out in front. With a raised voice, “Are you coming or what?” I ask. “What’s taking you so long?”

The driver’s door opens, and he proceeds to fold himself into the seat. “You know, it wouldn’t hurt you to loosen up a little,” He said.

“Just get us the hell there.”

There was silence for most of the duration, aside from a few condescending remarks thrown at my brother. “Could you drive any slower? I should’ve just driven the rest of the way. We would have been there by now.” I was in a foul mood, with no patience left. I stuck it out making sure to sigh and grumble at regular intervals.

“I do believe this is the road,” He said. Slowing to a crawl, he made a sharp right onto a dirt road. Pothole after pothole, for ten minutes straight, we made our way to the front door of a Rancher style wood house, not cabin.

“This can’t be right,” I said. “You turned down the wrong road. Idiot,” I mumbled.

“Nope. This is it,” He said, heading for the door. “This looks great! I knew it would be. Uncle Jack made lots of money, you know?”

“Whatever,” I said. I hated that he always had to be right, and usually was.

© Gerri Leathley 2014