Thursday, March 9, 2023

 A Little Piece About Losing It

I’ve lost it. Have you? Of course, you have. At one point or another all of us have lost our keys, our sunglasses, our reading glasses, our pen, our credit card, our wallet, our cell phone, our pet, or perhaps even our car in a crowded parking lot. The latter actually happened a few years ago. I went with friends to a Warriors game at Oracle in Oakland. Parking was easy. Finding the car in the pouring rain after a win when fans exited the stadium and the parking lot in an ecstatic frenzy with no one paying attention to lane lines or driving protocol, was not. For most drivers, it was one wild dash to the exit, every person out for himself. It is a wonder not one of us car-searchers was not run over and left for dead in a puddle. My companions and I eventually found the car after circling the arena in a concession worker’s golf cart for too many rainy minutes to count . . . looking, searching, wondering how the damn vehicle could just disappear. All five of us (and the kind employee) located the car eventually, swallowed up and obscured as it had been by the swarm of drivers leaving the game. By the time we spotted it, all of us were soaking wet and had long since forgotten our team’s victory. My friends and I tipped the cart driver generously before piling into the minivan for a soggy ride back to Sonoma County. Without a doubt the evening was memorable. And cold.


I suppose losing “stuff” is a part of life. Sometimes we’re too busy, too careless, too distracted, too tired. . . or maybe we’re sick. I understand that some people who have had Covid have lost their sense of taste or smell, maybe both. That could be concerning. Does it come back or is it gone forever? Depends on the person, I suppose, but I wouldn’t like it.


And what about losing one’s way? Who has been lost? Okay, admit it. Unless a person has chosen to enter a maze for entertainment, being lost is never fun and usually frustrating. It may make us late to wherever we’re going, we become flustered, and we use bad words. It’s true. I can remember a few times feeling stumped and alone. Where am I? How the hell do I get out of here? Who has had a similar experience?


Wait! What about positive losses – weight, debt, toxic friends, addictions, compulsions? Loss need not be bad. It often takes enormous effort and makes a person feel proud to lose something that no longer has worth. While the overall concept of loss is usually viewed as negative, it isn’t always. I wanted to add that perspective – a reminder to us all.


Good or bad, losing is a part of life, but, unlike misplacing one’s keys, it is not always easy. Some of us have lost a friend because of an illness such as dementia. How sad is that? Is our loss equivalent to theirs? Do they feel lost in another world? Are they lost at all? One can only speculate. Or, of course, we may lose someone because of a relocation, the simple passage of time, or because of an estrangement – a falling-out, a divorce, an unexplainable loss of connection. Those losses hurt, plain and simple, perhaps because the answer as to why they occur is not discernible. . . or, more to the point, we have chosen not to look closely enough to understand. That’s on us.


Greater than those losses that are seemingly final however, is death – the death of a loved one is the most difficult, heart wrenching loss of all, the one that never goes away no matter how hard some of us try to hide the pain. No matter the circumstances, losing a dear friend or family member torments us deep inside, the loss heavy, an anvil weight that we lug with us wherever we go. We may be able to shift that burden sometimes so that it doesn’t feel quite so onerous, so others can’t see, but it’s there always. We will take it with us to the end when we too die somehow, some way.


I have lost a few friends and family in the past few years, and for that reason I have been contemplating the notion of loss and its multitude of forms. I’ve actually had a mini post-it with the word loss scrawled on it and tacked to my computer to remind me of the insignificance and the significance loss can represent. It’s mind boggling actually how one simple word – loss – embodies so many nuances. But so it is. No need for anyone to lose his or her mind thinking about loss too much. After all, it will keep happening. So, buckle up. At best, loss may be a plus, but more to the point, it is a nagging certainty and more often than not, a damned inconvenience. Best simply to roll with it. Loss isn’t going away. 



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