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What Is Loss?

To start the conversation, we first look at the many kinds of loss. Here we’re talking about the types of losses for which we likely grieve.

Loss is one of those subjects we just don’t discuss even though we all experience it at some time in our lives.

Loss comes in many forms.  It also comes in a matter of degree - some loss cuts us deeply while other losses are more easily bearable.  You lost your sweater at the game last night?  That’s okay, you have others.  You lost your friend?  Now there is something that merits concern.  How did you lose your friend?

Often, our minds go to death when we think about loss.  The death of a spouse, of a parent, of a child, of a friend, of a sibling, even the death of a business associate.  In death, the human form is no longer.  We celebrate those who die after a long and well-lived life even though their death is a loss.  Our pain may be greater for those who die too soon, or so we thought.

Add to that the death of a pet.  Pets often become family members.  Their loss is deeply felt.

Death is not the only form of loss. 

There is economic loss.  The recent recession put millions of people out of work – they lost their jobs.  Job  loss is an economic loss; it can also be a loss of security.  Both can plague a person through their lifetime.

Further economic loss comes in the form of home loss.  In addition to job loss, millions lost their homes.  All of them lost their sense of financial security and well-being.

There is the loss of good health.  Many illnesses confront our sense of physical well-being. A serous diagnosis can change everything.  Our once heartfelt belief in our physical well-being can be lost for a lifetime with the simple pronouncement of a diagnosis.  Whether it is cancer or MS, there are diagnoses that rock our foundation.  Instantly, we lose our health certainty.

There is divorce. Divorce is an immense loss.  It’s the absolute end of what we hoped would be a lifelong union.  It doesn’t matter who initiates a divorce, the fact of a divorce is a loss. 

There is loss sustained in war.  Our military women and men lose limbs and other body parts.  They also lose their youthful innocence.  The warring experience leaves an indelible mark which for some results in nightmarish trauma.

A protracted war changes a nation’s psyche – war weary results in a loss of vitality.

There is loss resulting from mistakes.  To err is human.  Try as we might, some of us make mistakes in life.  We may choose our words badly.  We may accept the wrong job.  We may move to another region and never adapt.  We may go with the wrong group of friends.  While there is a loss sustained, it is also an opportunity to make a life-altering turnaround. 

We sometimes assume that life comes with an easy-as-pie warrantee.  It doesn’t.  We will all encounter loss during our lifetime.  It’s how we deal with our losses that defines us.

Are there other losses?  Email us and we may add another category.