By Kenneth Stepp
Loss… If you are single then loss has been something you have dealt with at some point. Maybe you are still dealing with it. Perhaps, like me, it’s always there. My losses were immediate. I lost my intact family. I never thought that would happen, one moment I was there, the next I was gone. On my own for the first time in over two decades, lost, confused, a little angry and a whole lot hurt. Not much of a foundation to build a life on at all. But there I was. As the layers of my life began to be peeled back, I realized something that I wasn’t expecting. I had never been so alone, I had never felt so vulnerable as this.
“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live” – Norman Cousins
Some losses are worse than others. Some are simply momentary or temporary things. Then there are those that cut deep, those that will always be lost. Yes, a loss creates something that is lost. Some, forever lost. I have a phrase for these losses. They are the “death of a dream”, losses. If you’ve never had one of these, count yourself blessed. I hope no one has one. When I have one of these losses, my life changes and it will never change back. The only thing I can compare it to is when I lost my dad. He lived on the family farm in Kentucky with everyone else. I could call him anytime day or night. Sometimes to get advice, others to just enjoy the comfort of his voice. Now I just pull his number up on my phone and cry. That’s forever loss…
“Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life” – Anne Roiphe
I’m not a guy who likes change. I was with my wife 24 years. Changing that almost killed me. I drive a truck I’ve owned for over fourteen years, it has over 320k miles on it. It’s part of who I am. I have always been stable in life, a rock for all those in my life. When hard things happened in my family, I was the level head, it was on me to get us through whatever came our way. I was the guard at the door. Our wins and losses depended on my actions, my integrity, and my strength. Although I have been gone for over five years, I still send my ex wife an email checking up on her, I actually sent one this morning. I protected her for majority of my adult life. I find it hard to turn that off because of a piece of paper a judge signed. Accepting the role of a divorced man has not been natural for me at all.
“I guess by now I should know enough about loss to realize that you never really stop missing someone-you just learn to live around the huge gaping hole of their absence.”
― Alyson Noel
So what’s next? Losses will come and losses will go. Exposing our hearts to potentially forever losses is a dangerous thing, life altering even. Do we still do it? No, if we are happier alone, no if sleeping alone is preferred, no if sitting on the sofa every morning having coffee alone makes you happy. Do these things fulfill you? If so, keep that armor around your heart and live your life on your terms. Many will and many make a way for themselves. For me, I want love. The kind of love that only my girl can bring to me. I want the fairytale. I have reached a place where I am somewhat happy, somewhat fulfilled, and I do enjoy that coffee in the morning. I have a friend that found her forever love and moved to live with him in his mountain cabin after they married. One day I was on the phone with her, I asked how things were going. We get up every morning and when the weather is good, we sit on the front porch and have coffee together while looking out at the mountains. That small conversation with my friend spoke to my heart. I’ll never stop…
“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”
― John Steinbeck
Believing in the fairytale isn’t the point. I’ll spend the rest of my days proving it does or doesn’t exist. Perhaps it will be more about my journey rather than my goal. Or perhaps my lover waits for me in the never ending tomorrows. Time will tell the tale. Stay tuned.