An analogy to try to make sense of loss.
If you have ever lost a loved one, you know all too well that it can become an anxiety-inducing situation.
I lost my father three weeks before my twentieth birthday, a week before the second-semester finals of my sophomore year in college. Now that I have lived long enough to survive more years on earth without my dad than with him, my perspective has evolved.
I recently chatted with a close friend who lost his dad three years ago. He wondered if the ache ever dulled or subsided.
Though I have spent some much time processing the loss of my father, I sat silent for a moment, jerry-rigging together a potential answer to his question.
Well, I am now of the belief that one ever definitively moves past loss. Or, at least in my life, I cannot fully move past loss.
Grief hunkers down and makes a home within me like a squatter.
Whenever I try kicking it out, it surely returns and is more likely to vandalize or torch the whole place.
If I ignore the fact I don’t want grief inside me yet choose to be kind towards it, it treats me well in return.
That means each time grief illegally sets up shop in my thoughts, I need to invent new tools and author new phrases to politely cope with its unwanted presence.
Each organically developed tactic to cope with this perpetual trespasser helps me whittle away at my frustration and carve out enough patience to deal with grief’s insistent existence.
I can try evicting grief or calling the emotional police to forcibly extract it, but it will always come back and seek refuge inside my mind.
In the long run, I must learn to live with it or it will rot my structure from the inside out.
I don’t want to be condemned.
I shouldn’t idly watch as my framework gets damaged and deteriorates.
I cannot allow my soul to get boarded up or graffitied on.
I need no reminders of my spirit’s deliberate urban decay.
The only way for me to evolve is to welcome my feelings of sorrow and appreciate them for what they are — authentic, persistent, and omnipresent reminders of those I loved, but lost.
Adrian S. Potter — the antisocial extrovert — is an author, engineer, consultant, and public speaker. When he’s not busy silently judging your beer selection or record collection, he writes poetry, short fiction, and articles on various subjects, including creativity, leadership, optimism, and personal growth. Adrian is the winner of the 2022 Lumiere Review Prose Award and the author of Field Guide to the Human Condition. His latest book, And the Monster Swallows You Whole, was released in May 2023 through Stillhouse Press. Visit Adrian at http://adrianspotter.com/. Say hi. He won’t bite.