Loss can be a very painful and personal thing. We’re affected to our core sometimes by the reality that there has been a shift, a change in the space time continuum. Something that was here, isn’t here anymore.
Sometimes this loss is immediately evident and everything we see hear or notice is a constant reminder. A connection to something that isn’t there. Like a rope tied between two trees, then one of the trees disappears, the rope becomes slack and when we search for the connection we come face to face with a frayed end.
Someone I knew died recently in the most tragic of ways. When I heard about it, I kind of felt numb. Like I wasn’t sure how to feel, a sense that I should feel something, but it felt wrong. It didn’t make sense, it was in a very real sense, senseless.
This death impacted a lot of people I knew, the lovely girl that was killed, her children, husband, her parents, and people who had known her, worked with her, or like me, had the privaledge of supporting her for a short while.
I had occasion to attend the funeral and was met with a sea of faces full of grief, still numb, I entered the church and made my way to a seat, feeling very much like an imposter, like I shouldn’t be there.
On the order of service was a photograph, a simple candid shot of this young girl smiling. It was at this point that I felt this loss, I was no longer in denial. It hit me that the rope was frayed at the end and I cried, I got angry at the cruelty of it all, and it just seemed so wrong.
Loss of any kind can be so painful and so sensneless, trying to make some rationale of something that has just stopped being is like trying to mould fog. This is why it is a process that takes time. It’s not that we have to come to terms with the loss, it’s about how we come to terms with who we are now that the loss has taken place and carry on.
I used to think that loss was in stages. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. For years people thought that this was how we deal with loss. Now I realise we move between feeling the loss and living our lives. We get up and go to work and get angry at other drivers and laugh at jokes. Then we hear a song, or catch sight of someone… but it can’t be her, she… then we think of the loss, feel guilty for getting on with our lives and laughing. This is part of the process of loss. Flitting between the rope that is secured to something sturdy and safe, and the frayed end, the senselessness of it, then we flit again.
Loss is all around us always, sometimes distant, and sometimes very close. It is a stark reminder that all we have is this moment, and that life is made up of moments. We can spend so much time being afraid of loss that we can forget to live and enjoy each moment that we have. By doing this we are celebrating those we have lost, by living, and yes, we will soon find ourself at the frayed end of the rope from time to time, but as long as we hold on to the rope, we can always find our way back.
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hi there. I’m Paul Cullen. A Thirsk Counsellor registered with the BACP. I’m interested in all aspects of mental health and well-being and feel it’s important that we each find our way to our own journey.
Originally a Lancashire Lad, I know live in my adopted county of North Yorkshire, with my family.
Have a mentally healthy day.