Looking for answers to life's questions

Loss

Loss: a four-letter word that can and has filled volumes. I cannot begin to squeeze it into a 500-word post. I know of no one who has not been touched by this word in its many forms.

We often suffer loss. We experience each loss differently. Some losses are more profound than others. Each kind of loss extracts its own measure.

We lose in different ways. We lose jobs, friends, relationships, health, pets, ad infinitum. I didn’t understand most kinds of loss as a child.

Sweet, quiet Schatzie. She was my mom’s for her first year, mine for 10.

Every time we moved, I lost friends. I grieved for them knowing I would never see them again.  Sometimes I didn’t have to move for the loss of friendship to hurt. I’ve lost several pets that were closer to me than some family members. I know many of you can relate.

My sister’s Healer in her cousin’s bed

The losses in life can often redirect how you live it. One of the great losses is our personal independence. When my last husband had a retina detach, he lost the ability to drive and with that his job. That was his identity and his freedom in one blink of his eye. He was forced to retire at 59. He took it in stride for awhile then as his world grew smaller, he wrapped himself around mine needing constant attention and entertainment.

On February 11, 2010 I had my own eye blink moment. I woke up feeling queasy and my ear hurt. I had my husband call for an appointment at my doctor and call someone to take me there. I rarely went to the doctor. This felt serious. The doctor wasn’t sure what was going on and made some calls himself for consultation. When you see your doctor pacing the hall and scratching his head, panic starts to set in.

In the course of two days, I went from full time chauffeur, etc to completely disabled; not by shingles as they first thought but by Bells Palsy. We were in a fine pickle with neither of us driving.

It was supposed to go away in a few weeks. Same virus, different outcome. The damage was so profound they did a CT scan to make sure I hadn’t had a stroke.

The contact lenses I’d worn for 45 years never went in my eyes again because I couldn’t blink. I needed a cane to stay upright and television was out of the question. The movement made me nauseous. So did car rides. I couldn’t hear well and loud hurt. My entire brain was on fire trying to find up. It was more than two years before I could drive a few blocks to a grocery store and even now, my limit is 20 miles. My entire way of life was lost. I had to build it from the ground up all over again. I am certain I’m not unique in this.

March 2010. Needed a straw to drink anything. Still do.

I saw this as a wake-up call. I wrote how I wanted my life to look from that moment forward. I asked for help! Couch surfing for over a year brought me to California and Oregon for different treatments that should have been done immediately. I read everything I could find on neuroplasticity to heal my brain and I was given exercises to get my eyes to track together again. Dr. “full of himself” was a genius and knew it. I loved how he helped when no one else did. I got some electrical stimulation on my face so it doesn’t hang though still paralyzed. In the end, I did lose my smile. I rented an apartment within walking distance to groceries until I could put enough together to buy my own little manufactured home. For a while, I had some independence. It’s at a precarious balance again so I’m looking for a new path through.  Loss always has a lesson.

How many times have you lost someone or something that caused you to rebuild your life in one way or another?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

 

Comments on: "Loss" (65)

  1. Amazing

    Liked by 4 people

  2. That you’ve been able to rebuild your life after such a loss of health is truly remarkable and a testament to your inner strength.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks so much, Liz. I was not about to wallow and expect the world or others to be responsible for my happiness. That’s my job and I hope I’ve done it well. There is still more to do and I hope time to do it.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Thank you, Marlene. You have some valuable insights. It’s scary out here.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. definitely loss affects “all people” in different ways – and you seem to be some one who “changes how one should live” through this loss…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You’ve been through a lot Marlene. I like the way you frame it as loss. And som are large and some are smaller and some make you change your life–either because you want to or it’s necessary. You’ve got some grit and I admire that.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I’ve had losses, but never as profound as yours. I lost a breast, my health, my job and my long term boyfriend in the space of 3 months. I clawed back a job but the others were lost forever. Now, I have a home and a husband (and he tells me I don’t need a job, which I accept contentedly) and a rewarding hobby, but I still don’t have good health and now the other breast is at risk. None of the gifts we receive are ours forever, are they? I took my health for granted till I didn’t have it any more. Never mind. Dear Marlene, you have had many great losses, but you have also given greatly, and continue to do so, and we love you for it.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. What losses indeed, Marlene. I had no idea. Life can be such a lottery. My first exposure to personal loss was in 1956. December 20th when I was just 12 some 6 weeks earlier. That was when my father died and for ever more I can’t regard that day as just another day in December.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with you completely, Paul. 12 is incredibly young to fathom how to deal with it. It changes who you are in a moment.
      My daughter was 17 when her father passed. My son at 22 tried to resuscitate him. Each of us had very different reactions and ways of grieving. We tend to stop and commemorate our lost ones on their birthdays and days of departures. They never fully leave our hearts and thoughts. Your father would be proud of who you turned out to be, I’m sure.

      Like

  8. Your determination to not accept the situation, but to make a change is so admirable, Marlene. I agree that loss does come with a lesson, but sadly, many people miss out by wallowing in self-pity.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have a rule. Everyone gets 10 minutes on the pitty pot and then they have to do something towards forward movement. The ache often never goes away as in the loss of a child which I fully understand is not the same as loss of independence but the wallowing must eventually bring forward movement again. I call that plotting time. Which way do we want our story to go.

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  9. Thank you for sharing this Marlene. People respond so differently to loss. You clearly were determined to meet a major, life altering challenge. I admire that greatly.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. You are an inspiration to each and everyone who reads your blog and who knows you. Thank you for being you!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. What everyone else has just said.
    I’m in awe of your strength and tenacity. In awe.
    Lots of love xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  12. You have learned that you can’t ignore grief and when you conquer it, you come out the other side stronger. I’ve had two bouts with cancer and the chemo caused permanent damage to my hearing along with other nerve damages. But the worse grief was being widowed twice. First when I was 34 and the second two years ago. I’m still struggling with the recent death of my spouse, but I’m finding I still have the strength to move forward adapting to the life change. You too have demonstrated your strength to overcome the disability. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for joining the conversation, Chuck. I’m an old hand at overcoming. That seems to be what this life thing is all about. Just keep getting up again. That nerve damage stuff was a hard one. I read everything I could find about it. I’ve been luckier than you in so many ways. I’ve lost 2 spouses in a very different way but the grief was quite intense non the less. You not only lose the person you love but the dreams you held with each other. I lost an entire family the second time that I still miss deeply. Life has it’s own rules I guess. Thanks for the visit.

      Like

  13. So sorry for your struggles. I too had Bell’s Palsy but thankfully mine was not that severe. You are a strong woman, I’m happy you are finding joy in your life.❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m sorry to hear you had Bells too, Mary Kay. My sister had it for a couple of weeks and it went away. I hope no one ever gets it that bad though it gave me quite the journey. Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  14. You’re a wonderful example of strength, Marlene, and your story makes my losses and issues feel much smaller. I’m still rebuilding after a relationship loss and move across the country. The virus hasn’t helped with this, of course, but most of us are finding that, unfortunately. Take care and I will too!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Joyce F said:

    You said “In the end I lost my smile”. Just reading your words I would say your soul is still smiling and it is shining through.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Marlene, I’m in awe how you’ve coped with such a debilitating illness, and yes, a huge loss of your former life but you’ve rebuilt it afresh. Losses do come in so many forms, affecting every facet of our lives and yet our love of life and inner strength see us through. x

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are right, Annika. Somehow our love of life and inner strength do see us through. Debilitating is the word I use most for what happened rather than disabled. Sometimes life slows you down but doesn’t knock you out. You just get up and go a different way. 😉 Thanks for joining the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. A very poignant story, Marlene. None of us escapes loss; it’s all about what we do with the loss. You, my friend, seem to take things and turn them into something positive and purposeful. Take care 🙏🏻🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Hey Marlene. I’m trying to decipher your post. Are you having health problems again ? Sounded like you might be and I’m sorry to know it. Thank goodness your daughter lives with you. Not living alone is nice security.
    I’ve realized what the loss of independence is like this week. The weekend b4 last, I broke my kneecap in half falling on a wet floor. Crashed with nothing to hang on to, full force. Then ambulance, hospital, surgery and home with a ankle to crotch brace. No weight on that leg for 6 weeks I’ve been instructed. We got a hospital bed delivered this Monday, so at least I can now sit up comfortably to eat or read. big plus ❤ xK

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh my goodness, Kelly! I’m so sorry to hear it. I can almost feel your pain. Broke my ankle once and it wasn’t as bad as what you are going through. Off the feet was pretty easy for a while. It gets old.
      The Bells Palsy happened in 2010 but it changed the trajectory of my life. I was completely debilitated in ways no one could have imagined. I still have residual issues from it but I have a whole different life as well.
      I was diagnosed 5 years ago with IPF. My mother had it, and my sister did until Dec when she got her lung transplant. She will be home in March. I am not a candidate but seem to have passed the sell by date without the use of oxygen so far. It’s a 2-5 year life expectancy but I seem to be going against the statistics. Hard headed I guess. My daughter is her in case the end sneaks up on us. 🙂 I still have a lot of writing to do and lots of sewing projects so I keep asking for more time and more energy. I’ll send you some snail mail tomorrow to cheer you up. Hugs, Take care of yourself.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Well here’s mud in your eye for shaking that expectancy to the curb. I didn’t know IPF was hereditary. Hang in there Marlene and stay safe. You should be at the head of the line for Covid Vaccine with this type of pre-condition. Have you been notified yet?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks, Kelly. There is a familial variation of IPF. Keeping a close eye on my daughter too. I have not yet been notified but feel that teachers and store clerks need to be in line first. I just keep my distance and rarely go out. Daughter works from home so mostly we just go for groceries in off hours once a week. Because this virus attacks the lungs and mine are already compromised, they aren’t recommending I get the vaccine. You two stay safe and warm there. Looks like you are getting another arctic blast.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Marlene, thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Marlene, you are just like my grandmother Nan. In her words, she was ‘cut from strong cloth.’ She had more losses to face than anyone should have to face. Yet, she was a giver, never complained about anything, and was always happy. She is my hero, and you inspire me just like she did. God bless you for that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Jennie. It seems like those hitches in life are to redirect you and change your focus. Every one of them was there to teach me something. It’s how I’ve looked at life. My mother survived Hitler’s mayhem so I can handle a few rough spots. Cut from Strong Cloth is a good way of looking at it. I have no doubt you are too. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your perspective should be bottled for everyone to have. Yes, if your mother survived Hitler then you can do anything. It does take some time to get to the point in life where we can fully understand that our bumps in the road teach us something. Mine have. No pain no gain. We can both be thankful of our strong cloth. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh my, Marlene. A comment here seems too little in response. You have gone through many losses, and the loss of your health is huge. I had no idea Bells is so devastating. My only experience is my cousin had it during her second pregnancy. It went away after the baby was born. No residual effects. I’m so very sorry.
    To answer your question, the loss that made me alter my life was the tumor in my foot. The diagnosis, surgery, and recovery took over a year, and everything was unknown as it was so rare. I used to enjoy dance classes. I was told I could never dance or run again. Not even a short spirt to catch the bus. I went through months in a wheelchair and then a cane for a year, but now I don’t even have a limp most days. I will never have a dog again because you know how they can pull a bit on a leash LOL.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. I read the book Necessary Losses by Judith Vorst when I was a young woman, Marlene. And it’s stayed with me for almost 1/2 a century. We begin our journey of loss when we leave the womb and it ends when we return to the earth. But I think loss forces us to grow and shapes who we are and who we’ll become. You certainly demonstrate the courage and hard work that loss requires. My most difficult loss was the murder of my younger brother. I’ve never felt anything so devastating, but that too forced me to grow and change. My best to you, my strong friend.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and stopping by, Diane. I remember Judith Vorst but had not read that book. I’ve put it on my list to get. As a gypsy child, I learned about loss early. I almost lost my first child so I learned that each person is a temporary gift. I can comprehend minimally, the devastation of losing someone I loved so violently. It would rip your heart from you and change you totally. You seem to have taken the tragedy and found a very productive outlet with your writing. What kind of writer never had any rough spots? Can’t imagine it. Thanks again.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Marlene, you’re an amazing writer. Though I’ve heard parts of your story before, this was equally powerful and riveting. I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through. No one escapes life without losses, but they do seem to be doled out in unequal measure. You’ve been treated unkindly by life, yet you’ve kept a positive disposition. I’m sorry to hear that you are once again facing a loss of independence. My sister is looking down that path as well and it’s painful to watch.

    Thanks for sharing another part of your world.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oddly, I feel like I’ve been darn lucky in most ways. It’s been an interesting ride through life and I almost feel like an observer of how it all transpired. Things that at the beginning seemed to be bad, turned out to be an advantage. I do agree, letting go of control of my own life and my independence is the hardest thing I’ve ever faced. I want to do it with grace though. I think about Sharon a lot. My cousin Heidi has it bad but she has a wonderful husband and 2 daughters plus a granddaughter to help her through. You and Mike will take care of Sharon…if she lets you, I know. Thank you for your sweet and encouraging words. They help a lot. Sending hugs.

      Like

  24. Thank you for sharing your story Marlene. It really touched me and I felt it to the depths of my toes. Big hugs my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I truly admire you for your strength, tenacity and positive attitude to life, Marlene! So many things that have been thrown in your way and you got over them all. Yes, we all have to endure loss, one way or another, and it does teach us lessons every time, doesn’t it? I sometimes wish we could learn those lessons in a less hard way though…
    We tend to take many things for granted until we don’t have them anymore, like good health. There have been a couple of stones thrown in my way as well, and learning to manoeuvre around them has taken its time, as well as learning to accept things as they are.
    Fortunately human beings are quite good at adapting to new conditions or there wouldn’t be much hope for us in the whole!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Adaptability is the key word, Sarah! I don’t think any of us come here to have a smooth sail. I think we are here to be very adaptable and resilient. I think I get an A+ in that course. 😉 You too. Hugs.

      Like

  26. Oh, dear Marlene! I’m so sorry to hear what you went through, though the story also tells me what I’ve long suspected: you are a fighter. I am in awe of your resilience. Whatever the future holds, I send my best wishes that you will get through the next challenge. (As you know, I am quite familiar with loss of different kinds myself, but am not sure I am as tough as you.) sending you hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a common thread among all humanity. Loss is a given. It’s what we do after that matters. I also no longer look to the future. I’m staying in present moments at this time of my life. Those moments that challenge us and those that bring joy. We get both probably daily. I just picture your little one playing in the socks and it lightens my heart immediately.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Such a profound prompt question, my friend, making me think about how often I’ve rebuilt my life. I guess we all do it over and over, don’t we? You’ve been so resilient and determined to find the love and the greater purpose. I just love that about you. The people I’ve lost that have had the greatest impact are those who remained alive, just unavailable to me: when my mother left my abusive father and us kids when I was 7 years old, when my father turned out to be too horrible to keep in my life anymore and I cut him out, when my brother interpreted a fight between me and his wife in such an extreme manner that he cut me out of their lives for an entire decade. Those kinds of separations are avoidable and all the more heartbreaking.

    A hugely important type of loss for me is the loss of what I thought it was. When you find out that things are not what you thought, it can be devastating and so painful to recover from. But it’s those times when I do the most reconstruction of who I am and put thought into who and what I want to be. Your post about loss reminds me most of this kind of loss, the very real grief you are left with, and the very tough path ahead to recovering from it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You got the gist of the post completely! Loss is such and open subject and it all takes processing. I’ve had to let go of some destructive family members as well and you do grieve them. I miss them but not the behavior. Lots to work through daily. Losing my independence and then my life are all requiring a great deal of internal strength. So happy to hear from you. Hugs, M

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Sending you a big huge, and a lot of love and support. You’re doing so well x

    Liked by 1 person

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