“At the temple, there is a poem called ‘Loss’ carved into the stone. It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read Loss, only feel it.” ~Sayuri Narration, Memoirs of a Geisha (2005).
The deepest mystery of life is that loss is woven into its innermost fabric; we’re touched never more sincerely than at the time of visceral pain.
There is an unrequited nature in loss that, despite our search, reveals itself just as mysterious and enigmatic at the last as it was at the first. Yet, we emerge.
The Need to Search Despite Meaninglessness
This incomprehensible nature doesn’t stop us searching, however. Indeed, we are indebted to search and to reveal the meaning of such meaninglessness. If we didn’t search we would fall into a hole, swallowed by the abyss of seeming tranquillity that, ironically, numbs us from healing.
This further convolutes the mystery.
What must be searched, yet cannot be reconciled, may seem bombastically callous on the part of a caring God. Still, the devil is behind that lie!
The need to search despite the meaninglessness in loss is not so much about discovery, or even self-discovery, but it’s the process through to renewal—the caterpillar within becoming a butterfly.
Coming To Accept Newness
Truth be told, we undergo many losses and many transformations through life. This occurs whether we like it or not.
To negate the reality of the coming butterfly, to remain a caterpillar, is to reverse an indelible trend—such a wish, entrapped of fearful desire, cannot be blessed. It is, instead, cursed to a shrivelling death of a life enshrined in customised portrayals of denial, anger, depression, and bargaining; even cycling through these without end.
To accept newness, but never prematurely, we necessarily and willingly relinquish what we have, or had—the latter recognising what was once ours is now gone, forever.
No Acceptance Without Realisation
In another great twist, loss cannot ultimately be accepted without a full realisation that life is now changed and cannot be changed back.
What is now ever different cannot get back what it never had.
Loss is like setting out on a journey, and as we finally find our way to the destination, we recognise the origin no more—it has vanished or become something irrevocably different.
To accept the new identity—to feel home ‘there’—we must renounce important facets of the old. This cannot be anything but a process, for our humanity respects with awe the construction and being of our developed identity.
Adjusting to loss—a non-reciprocating phenomenon—involves mystery. No one can tell us how to do it. There is no formula that can be followed. But, it is a search, and that search will be found fruitful, somehow, if one does not give up.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.