“We lost our beloved yellow lab in January,” I heard myself tell someone the other day and I thought to myself, what am I saying? We didn’t lose her. I know right where she is. I didn’t misplace her, and she didn’t run away. I lay with her on the floor and waited for the boys to come home from school, and the vet to arrive. I stayed right by her side until her last breath. I cradled her head in my hands as my kids kissed her goodbye. I rubbed her ears while the vet gave her the injection. And I watched the life slip away from her. And when I did, I felt another tiny piece of my heart chip away. Truth be told, I did not lose her at all. She is still with me, her beautiful carved urn is right where it belongs. So no, I did not lose her.
Nor did I lose my grandmother last year. I watched her deteriorate, wither into nothingness. I held her hand and prayed that she would fall asleep, that I would hear her breathe in, and slowly exhale for that last time. I whispered in her ear that it was okay, she did not have to fight anymore and she could go. I promised her we would be okay. I watched her body twist and contort and cease to function. I looked in her eyes when her voice could not be found anymore, and they to pleaded with me, with anyone who would listen…’let me go’. She was not lost. She was right there everyday trapped inside herself. We didn’t lose her. She was stolen from us by time and age, stroke and dementia.
Today I got the call that in my heart I knew was coming. I have prayed everyday to a God I do not understand. I have focused on positive energy and love and support and none of it has been enough to save this life. I am losing my dearest friend to cancer. Burkitt’s Lymphoma. It has been an aggressive beast and shown no mercy. There is no more to be done. And there is that word again.
We are losing him.
‘Losing him’ makes it sound like we didn’t pay attention for one second and he was gone-that we were irresponsible with him. We were watching him, I swear! I watched him very carefully six months ago almost to the day, when he said ‘I do’ to his soul mate. I watched him dance and laugh on that day, and it was beautiful. I have known him since I was 13 and I can tell you that he is a rare soul. He has a kind heart. He is one of those people that has lived authentically, honestly. He has been good since the day I met him. To see him happy and at peace with his two girls and this new woman in his life was right. It was as it should be. This is not the way his story should end.
But now we are losing him. And losing him sounds as if we might find him once again, like he just stepped out and one day when we least expect it, he will appear. That perhaps someday when our hearts are healed and we are walking down a crowded street, we will see his face. But that is a lie. We will not. He will be gone from us forever. It is not going to be like the soap operas, where months will pass and we will hear he was really on some mysterious island and he will show up again. There is no ‘lost child’ kiosk that we can run to and ask that his name to be shouted over a loudspeaker. We will not find him.
I lost her. We are losing him. It is a lie. He is dying and it will be final.
Is ‘lost’ the only word that captures the feeling of emptiness that is descends on you when someone so cherished ceases to exist? The hollow that you feel in the pit of your stomach when you know it is forever? Who decided this? Do I feel lost now, so far away from him, too far to say goodbye or hold his hand or whisper don’t leave us? Does he feel lost already, far away in his mind, drifting away on painkillers and unable to find his way back to the last time he felt good? Is lost the only word that sums up all of those emotions, and then some? It hardly seems like a big enough word and I can certainly come up with countless others to describe the fragile state of my heart right now. I can only wish it were lost-perhaps then I would not notice it is breaking. Lost feels like it mocks the situation. It makes me want to look for the word ‘found’ and that is cruel. Lost just sounds too small, like it cannot possibly hold all that I am feeling right now, or all the tears that I have cried today and will surely cry tomorrow.
My name is Wendy Jackson and I am a mom, a wife, a sister, daughter and friend. I have been a volunteer, a Realtor, an office manager, dental assistant, courier, marketing consultant, a photographer’s assistant and a few other things in my life! I just recently added ‘blogger’ to the list. I love a good laugh, a house full of people, a great craft beer (or two), a bold red wine and a book or movie of any kind. Good, bad or otherwise! You can find me at www.startingwritenow.com.
This touches me deeply right now. Having “lost” a 30 year friend last week, I know what this means. We are really the ones lost, those of us left to bear the pain of the loss. And a pet is every bit as dear to us as a human loved one. Thank you for sharing this.
This is so true. I love what you’ve done here. Totally changed my perspective on the way we use that word. Thank you for kindly sharing your story. I don’t really have many words, but I am moved.
Reblogged this on Starting Write Now.
Wendy I love you and am so sorry about your friends death. It sounds like he was happy the last time you got to see him. I feel the same way about “losing” my dad New Years Day. I feel like I just blurt out “he died” but saying we lost him doesn’t sound right either. We just have to hope,pray,and believe that there is a perfect place where they are all doing their very favorite things. You are a good writer! See u soon (at the rh, our heaven here on earth)