I Believe That Loss Is Much More Than Its Definition
I believe that the word loss isn’t really the ‘disadvantage that results from losing someone or something’, as it is defined in the dictionary. I wholeheartedly believe that loss, even though it can really suck, is the motivation for us to keep going. I believe that loss is the last little ingredient that gives us the strength to endure.
In the big picture, I have lost a whole lot of stuff. Trivial things, like homework assignments that had conveniently disappeared when I needed them, to some things of value, like my first twenty dollar bill, my goldfish Dorothy and the middle school championship volleyball game. Looking back, loosing this stuff taught me some good life lessons. For instance, I now carry a wallet instead of stuffing money in my pockets. I also know that you can’t feed a fish a whole canister of fish food in one night and that the importance of a team is invaluable. But even more than that, loss has shown me how to remember and continue to be, even when life takes away something that means much more to you than a goldfish.
In 2003, I lost one of my best friends, my grandfather, my Opa. He was diagnosed with leukemia in the summer, and died on December 15. For me, this kind of loss, the loss of a loved one, was the hardest. This type of loss incorporates dread and anger, sadness and frustration, pain and sorrow. In these moments, it is easy to believe that loss is something that contains no good. In these moments, it is easy to give in to the power of loss. This kind of loss leaves its mark on you, and it is hard to forget. The death of my Opa crushed my family, but it took the biggest toll on my grandma, my Oma. She in a way was lost too, because she had never known a life without her husband. Yet, she is the reason I am able to believe in loss-she has shown me that even in the worst times there is hope, and you can move on. It took a long time, but loss eventually revealed to her all of her strengths and gave her motivation to keep going. She is now thriving and growing, but still remembering. She has moved forward, and in turn, she has shown me that I can, too.
I now know that there are many lessons that loss can teach you, no matter how big or small the loss is. I have realized that losing something creates an empty space that can sometimes affect your whole self and take over who you are. But most importantly, loss has taught me that I can rise above and fill the empty space, and there’s nothing stopping me from doing it.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.