“Losses can be real or perceived,” my perky psych nursing teacher told the class. While the rest of the class dutifully scribbled that statement down in their notebooks, I simply looked up from the back row, where I was playing my game of Bejeweled, shocked.
I’d never thought about losses like that before.
To me, losses implied the death of a person or animal or something was once living and now 6 feet under.
I’d never bothered to consider losses in any other manner.
That statement has been playing on my lips a lot lately, along with my I Hate Artichokes mantra, as I think about the new chapters I’m to write after this particularly dreary chapter of my life ends.
If I don’t like this ending, the story is far from over (and I decidedly do NOT like this ending). I must continue moving forward so that I can write the next chapter of my life.
I knew that with every major life change – birth, death, weddings – came a series of losses and gains. While I’d known that this was likely going to happen with the dissolution of my union, I was unprepared for the types of things that happen when one gets an “internet” divorce.
The rampant gossip and speculation about why my marriage was ending. The certainty that when a marriage ends, someone must be to blame. The friends, who once stood at my back, promising they’d catch me if I fell, turning their backs. The guilt of losing my home. The shame in asking for help. The loss of a dream. The shame that I somehow failed.
With the losses, though, I’ve found so much more than I’d have expected. I have several boxes that you, my Pranksters, have lovingly sent me, of items I can use in my new home, for my new life, because you know that starting over, that dissolving a nearly 9-year union, that comes with a lot of pain. And every little thing, every email, every comment, they all matter so much.
For every friend I’ve lost, I’ve gained two new friends who know me and love me anyway. For everything I must leave behind, I have something else to take – words, love, encouragement – to remind me I’m not alone. In the darkest of dark moments, when I honestly don’t know how I’ll survive – if I should bother trying – the next three seconds, there have been whole minutes in which I can see clearly that I’ll be able to thrive. Maybe not today or tomorrow, or even next week, but someday.
And that is enough to carry me through.
So thank you, my friends, who have steadfastly answered the phone when I call sobbing. Who don’t pass judgement because I do sometimes need help, and know I loathe asking for it. Who text me to make sure I’m okay, and stay up until all hours, driving around with me in silence, just to feel like I’m not alone in the world. Who have been so kind, so thoughtful as to send me things. Who have loved me in spite of me.
You’ve carried me through.
And I don’t know how to repay that kindness.