Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Swinging Shadow

The ten-minute prompt for today's writing is this picture. Alison's and Sabrina's are both definitely worth reading.

Who among us has not experienced loss? The loss of a beloved animal? The loss of a parent, either through death, divorce, or some other means? The loss of a friend, the loss of a sibling, the loss of a spouse . . . These losses stay with us, mark us, and make us who we are.
  Sometimes the losses in our lives come not from what we had and lost but from what we have never had at all. Some feel the loss of a parent, not because they have fond memories upon which to reflect and wish for more, but because they never knew that parent's love in the first place. I read an article over six years ago that has stayed with me. I don't remember the author's name; I only remember the thought it conveyed. The lady who wrote it spoke of being raised in a fatherless house and never having felt the loss of her father--until she had her own children and saw how her husband interacted with them. Then she understood all that she had truly missed out on--all that she had been denied.
  We do not only suffer one loss. Instead of by time, life could be marked by the losses suffered. And some losses affect us more than others, even when it seems they shouldn't. Loss is not about reason--it is so much more.
  As some may know, I lost twins at 15 weeks gestation a little under a year ago. Most days I don't think of my loss. I don't often look at an empty swing and imagine them laughing as they fly higher into the sky. Most days I am too busy with my three other children to spare them a thought. But some days, some moments, I miss them. And sometimes I do look at a swing and wonder what they would have been like. They were never born, but they are still a loss. There is the loss of carrying them to term, of being so big that I couldn't fit through doors. The loss of trying to handle five little children five and under. The loss of even knowing what gender they were, of choosing names for them, of scrambling through life and being forced to change in ways that I never will now. I will never hold their hands, never hear them laugh, never see them romp and play and fight and scream along with their siblings.
  However, I am grateful for the few weeks I knew I had them. Although I do not wish for such a loss for anyone, I am grateful for the tenderness of the experience--it still brings tears to my eyes. Because of my loss, a somewhat small loss compared to some, my hugs are a little warmer, my compassion a little nearer the surface. I have more to offer humanity because I have lost.
  To those of you who have losses, still so raw and wounding that going a day without tears is too much and life isn't about living day by day but moment by moment, I am sorry. If I could I would hug you. There are no words to ease the pain of a loss.
  Because a loss, a deep loss, a sad loss, never goes away. It is a part of us, it is who we are, who we have become. We have crossed a threshold and can never go back. I cannot go back and reclaim what I have lost. But I can move forward with the empathy that is inside me and stand with all the others. Together, we can be each other's shoulders to cry on and arms of support. Together, we will not forget, but we will learn to smile again.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Leah. I hope I am a little more human and compassionate because of my losses. I know you are because of yours. *hugs*

  2. For our losses we learn to hold each other up. 15 weeks, that's hard, I found it hard at 4 weeks and having barely had chance to get used to the life I knew was inside me. Each loss makes you stronger in time, then something comes along and brings you crashing back down, having lived most of my life without my Dad I know what the author of the article was talking about too and having children to me made me re-live the grief of losing him all over again.

    Thank you for sharing this and big hugs all around xxxxx

  3. It is hard for me to find words about loss. It's too big for me. You've found many great words, and I feel them, and I'm grateful.