The Fear of Loss


But that's not possible. Everything worth loving will be lost. Everything that brings us joy and happiness, that takes our breath away, that gives us a reason to live, will be lost. No one escapes loss. The harder you try to hold on to something, the more it slips from your hands. I fear loss so much that I can't appreciate what I have as I have it. I can only panic at the thought that I won't have it forever and I need to have it forever, I need it to last but it vanishes.

I am in a perpetual state of grief (is there a word for this? there needs to be). Time won't allow me to do anything else. One moment after another is lost. The things that bring me the most happiness are ephemeral by nature--a sunset, the changing seasons, the light streaming through a window, a car ride, the clouds, a book, a song, a poem. I am astonished by them, I revel in them, and then the experience ends and sometimes I capture it in words but, often, there are no words that can replicate it and my grief is so great that I'm speechless. 

I watch Judging Amy on a daily basis now. For years, I couldn't find reruns but now a channel shows them and I'm elated. The matriarch of the show is Maxine Grey (played by the glorious Tyne Daly). She is a tough, dedicated social worker who removes children from abusive homes. On today's episode, Maxine was dealing with a foster mother who had taken in two young boys and one of the boys had died. The mother was devastated. She wanted to give back the other boy, the one still living, because she was terrified of losing  him too. What did Maxine say? I wish I could remember the words perfectly. I think she said loss is inevitable but once we lose someone we find comfort in remembering the time we spent with them and those memories are never lost. Maxine says this at a time when she is grieving the loss of  her beloved fiance. So she is not just saying it to this mother but to herself and, of course, to all of us watching,  and to me, in particular--the grief stricken depressive girl lying on her couch sobbing because Tyne Daly's eyes are so full of sincerity and I need to hear those words. I want to believe those words; I want to live them. I want the memories to be enough. I want to heal even though I know I can't. Yes, for a moment, I am comforted and it's so fleeting but it means something to me, that moment of solace. I'll keep it always.