OK, a bit of a rarity now, I'm intentionally writing a serious Blog, with serious themes. I'll probably work in the occasional humourous leitmotif. But, as they say on the Discovery Channel - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Please note - As ever, these are my personal thoughts and opinions, your experiences and mileage may vary. if you have been touched by the theme of today's Blog and want to talk about it, please send an email to the usual address.
Today's theme is loss...
Every person who has ever lived has experienced loss, to a greater or lesser extent. It's as much a part of life as breathing or not being able to get to the remote in time to turn over when a Party Political Broadcast comes on.
There are as many different types of loss as there are scales on a pangolin. They vary in seriousness and duration. For instance, there's what I like to call Temporary Trivial loss, characterised by the following phrases;
- 'Have you seen my keys?'
- 'Have you used all the shampoo you little scrote?'
- 'Where the hell is my wallet?'
These are annoying, and frequent. But eventually, you'll remember that you still had your keys in your hand when you made a cup of tea when you got home, so you check the fridge and there they are. You can always buy more shampoo, even if it's the Happy Shopper stuff from the corner shop. You realise that you're looking in the right jacket, but you never bothered to check the pocket that you never, traditionally, put your wallet in. You're sad, or annoyed, but only for a small time.
Next one up would probably be Permanent Trivial loss, where you would say things like;
- 'Aw! I've dropped my phone down the toilet, and lost all the pictures that were on it!'
- 'What do you mean you've lost it? My Mum gave me that!'
- 'Do you think we left it when we moved last year?'
Thankfully, these happen less frequently. The actual stuff that gets lost on those occasions isn't usually what you actually feel bad about. It's the memories that are associated with them. It's a weird one too, because you've not lost those memories, only the trigger that reminds you, but you've imbued those things with some of the 'spirit' of the person that they make you think of, it's like they actually contain your memories.
Our next set is the first of the serious losses, specifically Serious Physical loss. By physical loss, I mean the loss of a 'thing'. Something you can hold or lean against, or would hurt if you dropped it on your foot. These are pretty much all characterised by thing other people say to you;
- 'I'm sorry sir, but the bank will be forclosing on your mortgage and you have 28 days to leave what is now our house.'
- 'We've found your car, and it's been burned out... As you freely admitted that you left it unlocked, them I'm afraid it's not covered by the insurance.'
- 'It's all been stolen, everything I've worked for over the past fifty years!'
This is where the pain starts. I don't know how many of you have been evicted, but it's not a pleasant experience. It's not just the losing of a house, it's the loss of self respect, the feeling that you can't provide for your family properly. It's a real blow and it can change your outlook permanently if you let it.
Then we get to Serious Personal loss, where you lose a part of yourself rather than something external. This covers anything from having a limb blown off by a roadside IED to coming home early and finding your wife in bed with the Iceland delivery man. You can lose a hand, a leg, or your faith in other people. I won't bother giving examples of things you might hear as these things are happening to you as they're usually screams and expletives.
After that I suppose is the one loss that everyone really dreads, Death... Big one this is, I don't mean your own death, although, don't get me wrong, most people aren't actively looking forward to that - But you, yourself, are not really effected by it, everyone else is. I mean the deaths of one of your nearest and dearest. We all experience this at one time or another. The death of a parent, or a friend, or a family member, or that particularly terrible one, the death of a child. All truly terrible experiences.
I lost my Mother some time ago, and at the time, because we weren't hugely close, it took a really long time to hit me, but it did eventually, and quite hard. (Until she showed up again some time later) Then, over ten years ago, we lost a baby (before it was born) which is a very odd feeling, it's kind of a potential loss, you lose something that you never really had. Although I must admit that my experience wasn't improved by being asked why I was upset, it didn't happen to me after all did it? It happened to my wife... And whilst I feely admit to not thinking about it every day, I do still wonder what could have been on a fairly regular basis.
Funny phrase that isn't it - Potential Loss? I suppose you could use it to describe losing something you've never technically had, as above - Or possibly losing something in the future. The muse behind today's Blog was unwittingly suggested by one of my many virtual friends. In the age of the Information Superhighway, I'm sure that we all know people who we've never actual spoken to, or possibly never even met in the flesh, Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook and Instagram pull the populace together into a single digital mass like no other system in the known history of spacetime.
This young lady is no exception, I've received Tweets from her and vice-versa, we've laughed at each other's jokes and read each other's Blogs, in another time and should we be closer geographically, I'm sure that we'd all be popping to each other's houses to borrow sugar and suggest a dual-family picnic in the woods (I'll bring the Pimms) every other weekend.
But she's recently had some bad news, and she Blogged about it - So I'm fairly sure she won't mind me mentioning it to you lot, in fact, why don't you go and have a quick read now?
Good... Bring a tear to your eye?... Yeah, me too...
But what emotionally effected me the most wasn't the bad news itself, but in the way that the young lady in question has decided to take a deep breath and just deal with it. If only we could all be so pragmatic. I can guarantee that that child's going to know nothing but love from their parents and siblings alike - And in the grand scheme of things, you couldn't really wish for anything better.
So, please don't think that this Blog is all doom and gloom. I said at the start that it's about loss, and I suppose that it might be, but the really important thing about any loss... Trivial, serious, temporary, permanent, personal, physical or even potential. Is how you let it effect you. You can crumble, you can bury your head in the sand, you can rail against the injustices of the world and blame everyone from the Iceland Delivery man to any particular God of your choice. I've done all of the above at varying times in my life (Except the Delivery Driver one... I blamed someone who worked for the Software Studio that brought us Tomb Raider once, but that's another story) and do you know the commond denominator?
Not a single one of them did me any good.
The only thing that I've ever found that helps is to join our heroine above in taking a deep breath and just dealing with it.
Doesn't mean that's what I always do, but that's what always works in the end.