The Great Sorrows of Loss and Grief
“The art of losing isn’t hard to master, so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.” As quoted by Elizabeth Bishop. Over the years I’ve read this poem in and out and with each pass, I’m met with different emotions and underpinnings. As I went to read it last night after learning of the news that my father was nearing the end of his life. After reading the first two lines I quoted above, it instantaneously brought me to tears and not even tears of sadness, tears of comfort. Tears of understanding. The understanding that loss isn’t hard to master.., mostly because I, you, we… have alllll lost something. Some of us are losing something right now. Some of us just lost something recently. Big losses, small losses. All loss is just that…. A loss. And from my perspective, loss has varying levels of complexity and continuity at the very same time. Yet, Provided that loss equates to a varying levels of emotions and feelings, I’ve always felt as though loss is a disaster. One of the biggest, most awful, most terrible acts one can ever bare! But, as I said, I’ve sat with my feelings as I’m on the cusp of losing my father. But in losing him, I’m gaining a great deal as well. I’m gaining cherished memories, a deeper sense and understanding of a life well lived by my father with peaks and valleys and sunrises and sunsets. I’m gaining his legacy. I’m gaining his strength. I’m gaining an insight into just his previous and fragile life is. And in understanding the loss of it only aides me in cherishing the sheer idea and notion that loss is not a disaster, loss is a gateway into a deeper understanding of the importance of growth and healing from the most multifaceted place imaginable. If we can all sit back and deeply work to find the peace and understanding in the act of losing, you, me, we could all live our lives in a more aligned and dare I say it… peaceful place of balance and compassion. I don’t ask you to get to where I am in one reading of this poem or one reading of this post even. But, I ask you to challenge yourself to explore over the weeks and months what comes up for YOU when you pose the question to your inner self… “Where can I begin in my process of “mastering a loss”? And a secondary question worth exploring, “What is the biggest loss I have not yet processed internally that may be worthy of mastering and why?“ also, I pose this questions with the disclaimer that the act of losing or experiencing a loss, can be many different types of experiences. Not just the loss of a person. The loss of freedom, loss of reproduction, the loss of love, the loss of esteem, personal regard, happiness. The list can go on forever. We all loose different types of “things” that go beyond objects or even people for that matter. So, the challenge is that as a collective of black women working to heal, too… that we explore more in depth all that we have lost and in comparison what was gained from the losses we have endured. Please take to your journal to engage in the reflective prompt for this week.
Reflective Journal Prompt:
The art of losing is not difficult to master… As explored this week, we all lose and experience the loss of all types of “things”. This week, and over the coming weeks, you can you use this post and reflective prompt to continue the journey of truly conceptualizing the different facets of loss you have endured. So, as you take to your journal this week, write an open letter to one significant loss you have endured within your life. Examine what it felt like to lose what you lost. What it would mean if you could have back what you lost. And finally, challenge yourself to explore what if anything you have gained (over time) from this loss. See below an exert from my own letter to a significant loss I’ve come to recognize over the years has immensely impacted who I am fundamentally as a Black woman.
It was not until my 30s that I realized how much I missed you and how the loss of you experience was sudden and abrupt that I never saw it coming and literally I’m just now beginning to understand how it changed the inner me in so many ways. I’ve always longed for the simplicity of not needing to know grown folks business… not caring about what had to be done in the home and outside the home day to day to ensure we were all taken care of. The act of not “needing” to know or the act of not needing to figure out how to do something is a luxury I did not have the pleasure of enjoying much as a child. Early on, figuring out how to prepare food for myself and my sibling was no easy feat, nor was learning (the hard way) that if I didn’t get up in time and get us dressed and out the door to make it to the school bus, me and my sibling were not going to school that day…The loss of a childhood changed me… “
Ok, wonderful women! Take that pin to paper and write your letter to loss.
A Black Woman Healing Too…