Finding Purpose in Loss

I’ve found that dealing with loss, large or small, puts a finer point on what matters most.  Okay, maybe it’s aging, too, but however I’m getting there, I’m grateful. 

What I’ve noticed about myself recently? Unless I rein myself in, I can meander too often into a doomsday cloud, pondering impending loss…the realities about time and how precious it is.  How unpredictable life can be.  While I want to surround myself, and my loved ones, with bubble-wrap and protective shields, I know my compulsive worrying won’t help. I’m not omnipotent and powerful.  Some things just happen.  Out of order, like a cold slap.

Someone I care about experienced a sudden loss recently, standing by as a dear friend was felled by a heart attack.  After sharing the horrifying details with me, he said this: “I’m not spending time on stupid shit any longer.” 

His revelation?  It came after a childhood friend passed away in a blink.  One moment his golfing bud of twenty years was hitting a long drive off the 16th tee, and the next minute?  He was gone.  No hint of heart issues, illness, or malaise.  Just gone.  My friend’s comfort?  The last thing his buddy said to him before smashing a fabulous drive?  “Love ya, man, but you’re buying when we get to the clubhouse. Watch this.” 

Wherever the “clubhouse” is, my dear one plans to greet his friend one day with a cold one.  Grateful for their friendship, comforted by meaningful memories, years of laughter on and off the golf course.

Me?  I’m humbled by my friend’s trust in me…the fact that I can be a source of comfort for someone I care about. Loss will occur…tragically, painfully, unpredictably, but it can also be a gateway to kinship and connection. For me, the leaning in, the hugs and love prompted by heartache demonstrate fragility, yes.  But I also feel purpose.  Loss is a part of life, but in equal measure, so is love…copious amounts, especially, in response to grief. Being near with listening ears may not seem like much, but I’m learning. Sometimes it’s everything.

Vicki 💕

20 thoughts on “Finding Purpose in Loss

  1. On October 29, the husband of a dear friend died suddenly of a heart attack. In their home. On December 6, another lost her husband equally as suddenly and unexpectedly. In their home. My heart aches for them both. I cannot possibly know what that must feel like—but I can imagine the blessing that the love of a friend and a listening ear can bring. Yes, I think it might be everything.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Julia. Devastating losses. This post was especially on my mind this morning because of the horrible news about Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills player who collapsed, suffering cardiac arrest mid-game last night…a 24-year-old athlete…the randomness of life. Hubby and I have been watching the news closely, riveted by the horrific story, but also warmed by how an entire stadium and no doubt millions watching from home held a spontaneous vigil…waiting for news. Listening, paying attention may not be much…but on the other hand, sometimes it’s everything. Sending hugs to you! 💕

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    2. I believe you’re right: the love and support of a few good friends IS the difference. It’s the difference between the world’s hiccups and adversities being almost insurmountable when you’re alone … to being manageable, and even the difficulties turn into challenges to making it a journey with surprises, some more pleasant, some less, but nothing that cannot be handled. It’s a HUGE difference.

      And, yes, Vicki, that’s a very intriguing thought: if we had endless time would we ever get off our collective butts? 🙂 Would we ever try to accomplish anything, or just wait for “tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” to “creep in that petty pace”? 🙂

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      1. Love your thinking here, EW! Even when the hills are steep, it makes a difference to have a few good peeps rallying by our sides. And there’s a beautiful bit of ‘carpe diem’ in your keen observation about not putting off until tomorrow the things we can begin today. So good! Sending Friday morning hugs your way! xo! 🥰

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  2. A very poignant post about recognizing the things that matter,
    and the importance of “being there.” My sincere condolences go out to your friend, Vicki, but thank you for sharing this heartfelt message! 🤍

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Yes, I too have found myself pondering the future and, if I let myself, wallowing in what I’ve supposedly lost. My trick lately has been to try to focus less on the negative and remind myself that I’m still living, still breathing. It’s a little bit of gallows humor, but it helps me see the possibilities instead of the challenges. Condolences to your friend. May he never forget the camaraderie he had with his friend.

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  4. Oh, this is heartbreaking and also beautiful to think we might all meet up in the “clubhouse” wherever that might be. I love that we can hold our friends with our ears, hearts and arms like you did with your friend. Beautiful!

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  5. Vicki, thank you for sharing here about your friends loss. Sometimes listening is really all someone needs, but I think as humans we want, or perhaps need, to do more even when there is nothing we can really do. Many humans are fixers (I believe Wynne and I had a conversation about this recently) and feel their place is to restore order and balance, even though in the case of a death the greatest gift may simply be to be present.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I love that thought, Deb. There’s so much power and comfort in simply being present, as you said. I’m not surprised to hear you and Wynne chatted about being “fixers”. It’s a conundrum when you want to be active — providing support — and so helpful when we realize listening and being near, being present, might be the greatest gift. Thank you so much for sharing that, Deb. ❤️

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  6. You are a good friend, Vicki. There are many perspectives on loss, from the one who is bereaved and the one who has departed. Fortunately for them, my parents made what a friend likes to call “a clean getaway,” borrowing the phrase from old cowboy shows on tv and in the movies. OrOSince we never know, it is best to say what needs to be said every time we depart from a dear one. They may tire of it, but the one who says it will feel better for having done so.

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  7. Referencing to the “clubhouse,” wherever it may be, gave me goosebumps. I think it often falls out of focus that each of us has a finite amount of time left. Cherishing time with loved ones and truly be present when they need it is so important, and the listening ear will be remembered far longer than a gifted trinket. You are a radiant soul, Vicki, and such a good friend! ❤️

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    1. Oh…thank you so much for the sweetest compliment, Erin. I figure I can “give what I got” having had amazing friends in my life. And yes…cheers to thinking about the “clubhouse”. 😘 I love that, too! Xo! ❤️

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