Letter to Loss

22 July 2012

Dear Loss

How complicated you are – you heinous thing – that thing which I have felt so much of in my life.  And yet I call this a ‘love’ letter … So, Dear Loss, let me explain, expand and elaborate …

I woke up this morning with a sense of creeping dread.  My mother died 6 days ago and in another 4 days comes her funeral.  My mother’s funeral … As my senses came to, on the morning of this day, I was permeated with the weight of horror and fear.  And then the vile bile of anger took me over …

Yes, anger pushed its’ fist into my heart, because I invited people to join me at my mother’s service and there is, so far, silence … apparently no one is coming … Then that evil, chiding voice says to me “So … those people who share your happy existence don’t give a damn about your sad times – your life is clearly a sham …”

Now in my innermost and knowing self, I realise that this voice takes over and holds you in it’s terrible thrall, especially at times like this; and it takes you down a long tunnel, where you stumble, blindly in the darkness and you cannot see what you actually have – which is – in day light reality – so very much …

The fact is, if I really choose to count, there are two particular people who it is my dearest wish be there on that Farewell Funeral Day – those being my brother and my mother’s best friend.  And of course, there will be more: friends, family, my mother’s circle … Some to bid farewell and some come to support me. And suddenly it comes back to me, in clear consciousness, what I always knew – that ten people or one hundred – if for no other reason than that is how it is, they will be the perfect ones to be there …

My own sense of significance and drama had briefly demanded more attention … Yet my mother’s passing will be marked, as we – the living – need to demarcate such turning points in our lives – to focus our loss on, and provide the means to say farewell, so we can move onwards in our own living time.  And for me the most impelling cause for a funeral is to celebrate a life having been lived, a life which has been part of your life.  There are many ancient reasons why, even in this electronic and eclectic modern age, we practice such ceremonies around birth, marriage and death …

This limbo between time from death to funeral is extreme and emotional, it has shifted the axis of my world – so my demons come out to dance on my dreams and dine on my exposed flesh.  I name and recognise these satanic creatures, and then I choose instead, to dance with the angels.

You see there I was with the expectation of attention and response.  Yet I know that there are many reasons why people do not reply and do not come, and how I feel about this is my own business – it is purely my own response to what I have put out there (which is after all an invitation, not a demand) and is in no way provoked by any one else.  And then I know that so often I have a choice about how I can feel … so having wallowed in my fear and anger, I have now let it go.  It is part of my process of processing what has happened; and now, at this time of writing, I am in a quiet space of reflection and acceptance that it will all be as it should.  This newer, positive sense comes from the pure me, the one who chooses the path of light, not the tunnel.  And verily, the dark demon of negativity still grabs me and tries to drag me down that tunnel; but I know, always, there is light at the end of it.

And we all do what we can, with what we’ve got … I had thunderbolt moment about this when someone called me to offer her support and condolences … she is going through her own very tough times at the moment, and she recalled all the offers people give at these trying times … to be there if asked … to do anything for you – if asked; and the thing is, usually no one does ask …  Well now, she said, she had decided to do SOMETHING … as much as she could manage right then, which was to offer me ‘a cuddle and cuppa’.  And I was so touched and it was a wake up call for me … me, who so many times has said, ‘just let me know if you want anything’ and then leaves it at intention … because I don’t want to intrude, or I’m busy, or my own life takes over or it’s not a priority.

And all these things are valid in their season … but may be, just may be, we could just all pause and wonder what we can do ‘beyond the words’, beyond our own small worlds, at times like these; and if that is sending our love and good wishes, then good … Yet, just for now, please support me in expanding my own horizons by considering the possibility of doing a thing, of actually paying it forward, as well as sending out a possible promise …

And I have received many such treasures in this limbo time … so much love, so much support, hugs, dinners, biscuits, transport, company and conversations.  And people have created time and space to be with me … So there it all is, in reality – all in balance; and yet, still – so fleetingly, I felt neglected – when really, I am getting exactly the attention that I need … And I want to say thank you to everyone who has given to me in any and every way, in these few last days.  I receive what you gift, so very gratefully.

So the emotional complications of my personality unfurl some more: triggered and exaggerated by sudden loss.  I kick over the implications, then I cuddle them. I give breath to the evil and the enervating, then I can reconcile the consequences and realise that these leanings are my lessons.

It comes down to this … This is a love letter to loss.  And it is a love letter in the sense that I appreciate and celebrate how this whole experience has ‘opened me out’, and how such trying times can, if we choose, alter us in positive and unimaginable ways.  And having started with anger and tears, I realise now, with humility and clarity, just how much I actually have – even when this weird day started with me swimming through the lake of my loss. And this letter may be the ramblings of a grieving child or it will be what ever it will be to its reader and what ever that is, I am good with it …

Then this letter starts to wind down … and one of the many reasons it is addressed to ‘Loss’ is that my inner poet loves the alliteration of all the Ls in a ‘Love Letter to Loss’ …

And so it is now, that I go from loss to love.  I end this letter with a salutation to loss and all the unbidden treasures that it has given me.  I do not in all honesty welcome it, yet I do intend to learn from it.  And last of all, and most of all, I raise my glass – every time: to Love …

Yours trustingly,


PS: Thank you for sharing this letter with me.  My mother passed away on 16 July 2012.  She was diagnosed with a condition called Parkinson’s Disease and if you could donate something to the organisation that funds research and support for this disorder, I would be very grateful for yet more gifts bestowed …  You can give online here …


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