This I Believe

Greg - perrysburg, Ohio
Entered on January 21, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: setbacks
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I believe in loss. I believe in our sense of loss I believe that it is our sense of loss that defines our individual nature. I believe loss is a universal phenomena. I believe that it is the one thing to crosses all aspects of our life. Loss knows no boundaries. Not socioeconomic status ,cultural differences racial differences nor religious practices will protect from loss. How we react to a loss I believe is greatly affected by all those factors. It is the thing that helps me to bond with the community around me and creates an empathetic awareness of the people I encounter. It is also the genesis of many creative avoidance tactics.Sometimes the potential for loss reigns supreme.Fear is worse than reality.

I place the genesis of my belief from the time of my sister Judy’s death at the age of 15. I was 13 She was diagnosed with cancer in April of 1970 and two months later our family foundation was rocked by her death. Elizabeth Kubler Ross was just bringing her work on death and dying forward. There was not an organized community structure to deal with this grief. Compassionate friends had not been formed yet. As an impressionable teenager, I was left to my resources to sort things out. After I went off to college my parents went through a divorce. In 1989 my belief was crystallized, when my two children died in an automobile accident. My son Ryan was 10 and my daughter Lauren was seven. My world was once again torn from the foundation. My wife Marianne and I have survived the grief process together. We attended a support group and did a great deal of reading and talking in those months and years. I am a firm believer in the suggestion that we must lean into the pain. I believe Marianne and I are still together after 30 years because of the courage and strength provided by community around us. I believe my parents grieved apart.

I soon began to notice a pattern. When speaking with others I would hear the same themes being repeated.The initial anger, frustration, withdrawal, and depression were evident. So was the story of some loss which had not been resolved. I began to realize there was a great deal of healing in a simple ability to tell the story and have it acknowledged. Sometimes the story is not so well received. I have witnessed the withdrawal that others will portray upon hearing my story. There is an avoidance to discussing somebody else’s loss . I have been embraced by the genuine warmth and compassion of others.My awareness seemed to expand with time. Each day was shaded by a story of loss and the reaction surrounding it. The pattern expanded. It became so common that whenever my wife and I went to see a movie I would find myself framing the story based on the loss portrayed and the attempt at reconciling the loss. All too often it would not appear to be a very functional way of dealing with grief. My children have chided me too often on overusing the phrase “unresolved grief”. It presents in books and songs. Stories of yearning for a lost love seemed to abound. It has become apparent that loss is all around us. The stories of conquering the emotions becoming inspirational. Think of it in simple terms. Something as simple as losing your keys.The initial reaction portrays anger and frustration generally followed by bargaining, blame,or withdrawal until the loss is finally resolved. The resolution becomes more complex as the loss becomes more severe.Then ,of course there is the avoidance of loss which becomes substantial.The potential for loss can control our activities.The clash between concurrent losses is when things get particularly interesting.Global warming….the loss of our planet versus the loss of our current lifestyle.

We become more compassionate when we tune in to the losses in the community around us. We stop a vicious cycle when we address a loss without creating more loss. I believe heaven is a place where there is no loss. For me,it will occur at Wrigley Field when the Cubs win the series.