Let me explain a few things before I get going on Loss itself...
Today.. I feel like the introductory lyrics from the song, Broken by Lindsey Haun:
"Wake up to a sunny day, not a cloud up in the sky
Then it starts to rain.
My defenses hit the ground, and they shatter all around
So open and exposed."
Let's just say.. It was a beautiful day. Weather outside is nice, work went well enough... About.. half an hour to the end of my work shift I receive the news that a very dear friend of mine passed away in her sleep. She was .. Well.. a gift to me and those who knew her, from God. She was so fragile, since the day I first met her. Her health was failing, and she was only in her mid-twenties.
Her name was Cristie. Gentle, sweet, loving Cristie. She and I knew each other through World of Warcraft, that oh-so-popular video game. And not a week ago I quit that game and sent her some things from it and told her I was quitting and she texted my phone to say, "I will miss you but you have to do what is best for you."
I remember thinking, 'You're not losing my friendship, just my WoW character' and I called her to say we'd stay in touch, we had plans to visit each other in the future too. She's been trapped in Hawaii for more than a year, and she'd always say 'Once I'm state-side we're going to have to have a picnic.'
It's.. such a shock to find out that... Something like this has happened. She was, as I said, always frail when it came to health. Less than two months ago she had to get a pacemaker put in to help her heart because its beating had become irregular. That's a tough ordeal in and of itself, and such a young age.. I was so scared we would lose her. She pulled through it... Though she had trouble waking up after the surgery. That was the hurdle though. We all thought, if she could make it through the surgery... Then she'd have years...
Last night she passed away in her sleep. Her pacemaker and her heart.. gave out in her sleep. I never got to meet Cristie in real life, but our friendship was so real. We've known each other for years, and in those weeks leading up to her surgery I would call her almost once a day to sing a song for her.. Always something meaningful, always something to make her smile, and she said it meant the world. I wish I'd kept doing it after those surgeries... Making her smile day-by-day, singing or talking, but life was too complicated to spare us enough time, and I don't blame myself. That's very important to say, I don't blame myself for what we didn't have
, I only regret that we never had the chance.
Cristie gave us so much in life, and she had such a rough hand dealt to her. Her health problems began about a year before we met, when she had a piece of gauze mistakenly sewn up inside of her after a surgery. That piece of gauze caused an infection, which spread to her livers... From there her troubles grew. Her heart became erratic and she required almost twenty-four hour care, which is why she was in Hawaii with her parents. She also had dialysis twice a week. Those days were very rough for her. How unfair life is.. To give someone so kind such a raw deal. How fortunate I was to know her.
The topic of this blog is Loss, and the reason for it being written is what I've shared above.
Loss is only appreciated once you've loved, liked, cared for something, or sometimes just the opposite. How can you know what you don't have if you lose it before you appreciate it (in either a good or bad way)? I've known many forms of loss, more than someone my age should I think, but then... Who ever thinks they should lose things they love? I suppose, in the end, I've lost just the right amount, just the amount I needed to to help make me who I am today, to help me appreciate what I do in life.
In some cases adversaries push us to be better. Without competition, why try your hardest? Some people find reason within themselves, I always find it faster when I'm not the only one on the task at hand. When that competition slips away, or is reassigned, or gives up, I'm just not as driven. There's something empty where it was before. Some hole in my day that I can't fill, though I can find ways around it in time.
Possessions we love are hard to lose. I've had many things come and go in my years, my hardest was my birthstone ring, which I lost twice. My parents bought it for me when I was a baby and gave it to me when I was eleven. How disappointed, how remorseful, how sick and guilty I felt when I realized I had lost it. It only got worse the second time. I mean, it's one thing to lose something so sentimental and valuable once, but twice
... Now.. imagine how I would feel if I lost the teddy bear my grandparents gave me as a newborn (*cough* who I still sleep with at night *cough*). That.. might be like losing a pet.
My horse and I shared many wonderful things. Trust, security, patience, stubborn behavior. He taught me patience more than anything else I've ever dealt with, living or inanimate. I learned from him what it was to slowly work with someone who was capable of doing things with you, to teach them to, and to accept what they were willing to offer. I learned to wait rather than push until they were prepared to offer more. It is my belief that I taught the ex-racehorse what it was to have a truly devoted friendship. While others knew him and rode him when he was with me, he was mine. I was a constant for him, something that always came back, someone who could tell when he was sick, angry, tired, annoyed.. Because I had kept him and worked with him long enough to learn his tells. The things he did, the ways he showed those feelings.
When he died... Part of me died with him. Not only did I lose my primary source of exercise, I lost that connection, that friendship, that trust, that beautiful creature that was so a part of my life. Driving down the roads that branched off to his barn left an empty space inside me for hours. The sight of other horses made my stomach knot (which sucks as I'm in Texas) and sometimes my breathing grow harder. I cried for hours over that loss, that pain, that suffering. And I know someday I will own horses again, but they won't be him
and it won't quite be the same. Every single thing and creature and soul that is in my life touches me, changes me, leaves an imprint upon me. Sometimes it's too small for me to notice. Sometimes, I can only appreciate it in retrospect.
The hardest thing to lose is another human life, I think. I know I deal with losing all things differently, and oddly enough, I have the most trouble crying over people. Perhaps because it's such a profound loss for me that it goes beyond tears. It sits deep in my heart, an empty place that will never fill, memories that will never fade of people who I cherish. I likely will cry eventually, but for people I tend to shed single tears. They have the most capacity to change me, to improve upon my life, to enrich it. Thus far in life I have lost four grandparents, one uncle, one aunt, one teacher, and one very dear friend counting only those I knew very well. There have been others in my life, but most of them were not people whom I knew intimately, still I mourn for their loss, and the loss of their impact on this world of ours. A human life, so cherished, so fragile. Even if a person is in the best of health they might be stolen from us, might be taken by the Hand of God, or the works of the fates, or whatever other source we wish to attribute our loss to.
Life happens, and loss makes us stronger in the end. Learning that it is okay to let go because we never really completely do so... And by that I mean.. Letting go of grief allows us to move forward, but there is always the imprint left upon us. The imprint of my emerald ring, the imprint of my horse, the imprint of Cristie, and those other souls to pass before her. I knew them all so well, and they knew me. Even that is something significant. These things are with us when they've left. To grieve them is to honor them, but to live on and carry their influences upon us and to spread our own, thereby spreading their initial touches, to others is to remember them in the best way I think we can.
Loss is a part of life. It is painful, it is shattering, it is intangible, but it is as real as the earth we walk on every day and the people who remain behind.
Leaving loss without healing often becomes depression, anger, or insecurity. I think we must all learn to deal with it in our own way, and embrace that way which we finally find works best for us, in order to continue. And that, continuing, is the most important part of losing someone, because it lets you carry them with you....Edit to add the poem I wrote for her.
Lament of a Friendship
What little time life offered us,
How much I miss your smiles.
To hear your voice within my thoughts,
And share our hearts across the miles.
The soft shoulder I leaned on,
And caring friend who shared my days,
I always thought you’d linger on
And we would keep our gentle ways.
The common things we both have known,
And shared with timid, trembling trust
The touch of chaos life had shown,
Of things to turn a soul to dust.
Dear Sister of my aching heart,
I will miss you so
For you are an integral part
Of the goodness my life knows.