Shades of Loss

Throughout our lives, we are constantly subjected to loss. We have lost favourite things; that great pair of jeans, that first yellow cassette player or that pretty golden ring which once belonged to our mother. We learn by time that loss can sometimes hurt less by replacing or filling up the space with something else. Regardless of whether that loss is time, an opportunity, an object, a feeling or a whole person.

The sting of loss will most likely leave us eventually but some losses stay with us like a shadow of a missing piece. We go by our lives not recognizing its absence, but like a shadow, its presence is lifeless and silent. A faceless production from a light being blocked. Still lingering.

Over time, I realized that the process of losing a person comes in different shades. There is the kind that fades into silence. They come back to us in the photos of our favourite moments or in our childhood memories saved in old scrapbooks. While those people no longer exist in our lives, we can not help but look back at them with a smile. They are the memories we isolate for nostalgia.

There is the one we have no control over in any way. The kind of loss that is forced upon you and you have no other choice but to silently and tearfully accept it. And that is the loss we feel in the death of a beloved person. It is the loss that shakes us the most. It is that shadow that almost never goes away, especially in the darkest of times. They are people whose memories we hold on to so dearly. In the smell of their old garment and in small gestures that once used to irritate us. They exist within us as whole people. Most beautifully and heart-breaking of all.

And then, there is the one that is like an anchor. Stabilizing our growth. The kind that leaves you in between. They are sometimes the people that occupy a place of power in our lives. That losing them is a choice we have to make. Out of necessity. This is perhaps the hardest process of all. Because we have to make the choice of releasing them everyday. We have to release them when their favourite song plays on the radio, when we are reading a line of a book that shaped the way they think or when we come across people who carry the same name as theirs. They are the ones that we can not look back at their memories and pick the ones we want to keep. They are the stories with endings we need to write ourselves.

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