10.30.2005

Loss

Request #2 comes in from Chris, from the never-boring site, countplusplus. He's asked me to talk about Loss. Off I go.

In the request, Chris mentions several of my losses that he's aware of. I've lost my father. I've lost a job. Friends have moved away. I want to talk about these and other losses I've been through.

Losing my father was sudden. He was alive, then he wasn't. It came out of nowhere to the family. While he and my mother had been separated for a few years already, my brother, mother and myself were all shocked. I was saddened at first but I also guiltily felt like a weight had been lifted. My father disapproved. Just, in general. He disapproved of a great many things and one of things I avoided as assiduously as possible was his disapproval. I was 17 when he died and I was at that stage where I started not caring about his opinions but with him gone, I felt very liberated. I wonder if I'd have ever reached the same sense of freedom over time simply through my own maturity. I'd like to have him back now. I feel like I'm ready to deal with him.

Losing my job was difficult. The week I went in to get a lymph node removed because it had an unnatural growth was the week I got laid off. I was home recovering when the decision was made and the first day I got back to work, a week later, they gave me my walking papers. I was surprised. I had expected to be cut all summer long. The business was diving, I was low-man on the totem pole. I could read the signs. All summer I knew it was coming. I guess I wasn't thinking about it when it finally happened, I thought I had bought another year. But it was not to be. In October, they let me know my last day would be just before Christmas. I was sad because I liked all the people there and I knew I wouldn't be able to find a job that paid nearly as well. At the same time, I was excited because I hoped I might be able to write a book.

Friends moving away is difficult. I miss Alex and Clare a lot. I saw them both so much, for so long. Alex, I had known since high school and we'd been more or less inseparable once I started doing improv with him. Clare and I were great friends in our own right and our shopping excursions are sorely missed on my end. She paddled me around in a canoe when I hurt my arm on a camping trip. I think about a lot of my friends who've moved away, but I'd give a lot to live near to them again. They're each worth their weight in laughter. Just writing this makes me miss them more...

I lost my original wedding ring. I wish I had that back.

Once I was given a 20$ bill to buy a birthday for a friend when I was twelve. I went to the store, picked out a gift and when I got to the cash, I found I had lost the money. I ran back home telling my parents that I lost the bill. They gave me another and a lengthy, voluble lecture and then deducted it from my allowance over the next several weeks. What stayed with me was not the trouble I got into, it was perfectly reasonable and handled, surprisingly, without an overrreaction. It was those fifteen, twenty minutes I raced frantically around the store, to and from my house retracing my steps searching furiously for a lost 20$ bill that I knew beyond doubt was long, long gone. I can vividly recall the utter panic at having failed so miserably with one of my firsts tastes of responsibility.

I like to think that I have a very strong sense of honour to those I love. If I make a promise, I take it very seriously. I know I haven't always been able to keep some of them (usually due to forgetfulness). I also have a strong sense of duty as a citizen. I think a loss of honour or an abrogation of duty are very serious things.

I don't live in fear of losing my family (by this, I mean my wife and child). I frequently imagine them gone, lost to me. It would be unbearable. The fact that they're here makes me rejoice. It pretty much makes me untouchable. There is no disaster that could befall me that can knock the smile of my face while my precious duo are safe, healthy and happy. In some ways, they are already lost to me because I've accepted the possibility of their being stolen from me, so I always feel like I've regained them whenever we're together. I'm the kind of person who lives by "prepare for the worst but hope the best".

Lost is a pretty good TV show. If they can wrap this up without resorting to a David Lynch series finale, I'll be pretty damn impressed.