Saturday, November 20, 2004

Pain and loss
Each night before I go to bed, I read a few somewhat less political blogs to cool down. One of my favorites is The Dark Window. Pete at Dark Window is one of the witty and intelligent crowd that has gathered around World 'o Crap and Sadly No! to form a very refreshing and irreverent community.

Pete just lost someone very special to him. There is really no way that anyone can say anything that will cure that pain. It's incurable. Yet we all feel compelled to say something. I suppose it's because this, the most honest of pains, has the ability to bring out the nurturing instinct in even the most hard-boiled among us. Whether or not it can help, we want to say something, to say we care, to say we, too, are human. Or maybe we just need to make noise to fill the uncomfortable silence.

I'm pushing fifty, so I have a fairly healthy collection of losses. The accumulated numbers of past losses don't help ease the pain of the next loss. Each pain is unique. In college one of my first loves died in a plane crash. A few years later a new friend, one of those people who seem like a perfect match five minutes into the first conversation, was murdered in a holdup. At thirty my best friend died after fighting organ transplant failure for a year. My mentor to adulthood had a fatal heart attack at 44. My dad died just before 9/11. There were others along the way. Most of my older relatives are gone. Every time another special person goes, it hurts just as bad and is just as confusing as the first one was so amny years ago. You don't get any better at this with age.

After the first death, several people tried to say, "you'll get over it" and I knew that was wrong. If you love someone in any way, you don't "get over it" when they're gone. The people who said that meant well, and I don't mean to insult them, but they were wrong. You do not get over it. The pain of loss is born of the same fire as the love you felt when they were alive. If you can get over it, there never was a fire. What you do is get used to it. The pain and the loss stay, but you work around them and make them part of you. They stop being barriers to life and become part of the memory of the people you loved. The fire keeps them alive in your memory.

If you have a chance, go over to Pete's and read his memorial to Sunny. Say a kind word and let him know we care.

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