loss | shorts and longs | julie rybarczykThere’s been so much loss this week.

From every direction.

Massive, unfathomable losses of life and limb. Loved ones. Innocence. Even the much less tragic, but still so real, loss of spring for those of us trapped under a fresh five inches of tundra.

Just to name a few.

I’ve been so aware, as I’ve passed by the people and cars that surround my comings and goings: Loss touches every last one of us. Each of us has it, or has had it, or will have it.

But there are so many ways to respond to it.

We can cry. Or scream.
We can pretend it’s no big deal.
We can try not to feel it – or at least not for long – or at least not very deeply.
We can attempt to quickly replace it.
We can write a song.
We can host a fundraiser.
We might decide to call it something that’s “for the best” or “meant to be.”
We might claim that someone else has it worse so our loss doesn’t matter.
We might ask why, why, why, why, why, why, why.
We might argue.
Or run.
Or run for a cause.
Or numb.
We might try to make someone else pay for it.
Perhaps we will rise to the occasion.
Or sink into despair.

Or maybe we’ll just walk around looking all normal and nonchalant while privately feeling crushed by the weight of it. Yes, maybe we will do that.

But whatever we do, and no matter how hard we try to avoid it, there is no life without loss.

A fact that I am feeling particularly cantankerous about right now.

Really? That’s what we’re going with here? Loss is a 100% guaranteed part of the deal? Period? And the deeper we love, the more we feel, the more fully we live – the deeper the potential for loss???? That’s what we’re stuck with?!

Noooooooooooooooo. I don’t like it.

Last night I watched Life of Pi, finally. I had read the book, so I knew what was coming, but still. I must be somewhat raw because the losses felt overwhelming at times. They came one after another, like the waves in that tremendous ocean. Sweeping over Pi and nearly drowning him, again and again. And just when you thought there could be no more loss, there was.

I know that nearly is probably the key word. Because Pi didn’t drown. Those losses were not the end of his story. You could maybe even say the losses shaped him. Strengthened him. Transformed him into something better and more real.

I guess you could say that… if you were watching the story from afar, or from years down the road (as, I suppose, we were) but thank the Lord in heaven no one was there to say it to starving, grief-stricken, bedraggled, terrified Pi in person while he was neck-deep in the middle of his tremendous losses, with no end in sight. Because he surely would have drowned that person himself right then and there with his own two bare hands.

The movie was heartbreakingly beautiful.

But, to be honest, this week I could have done without the heartbreakingly part.

Because loss sucks. Literally. It sucks something out of us. And walking through it – living through it – and coming out on the other side – is the hardest and bravest thing most of us will ever do.

What I was wishing someone would say to Pi was, I’m here with you. You’re not alone. And you can do this. You can. You will survive these deep, gaping losses. There will be an end to this chapter of your story, eventually. There will. But it doesn’t look like that end is going to be today. So, for now, let’s go find something to eat.


Maybe that’s what Richard Parker was saying all along?


Here’s to the frickin’ reality of loss, people. Here’s to making it through whatever present loss you are carrying, whether your own or on behalf of others. And here’s to finding something to eat.



    April 23, 2013 - 8:35 pm
  • Julie

    Wow, Tara. Thank you!!

  • Julie

    Thank you, Becky. And amen.

  • tara fagerlee

    You are a truly gifted writer…

  • Becky

    Thank you Julie for this intimate journey in and through the words of our hearts and loss.
    May we never become numbed by loss, but instead always have someone to walk with us in/through to find the other side.


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