Lost in the Sea of Grief


lost: definition/ adjective:
1. Unable to find one’s way;
    not knowing one’s whereabouts, off course, off track, disoriented, having lost one’s bearing, going around in circles,
    adrift, at sea, astray, “Help! We’re lost!”
2. Unable to be found;
     missing, mislaid, misplaced, vanished, disappeared, gone missing, gone astray, forgotten, nowhere to be found,
     absent, not present, irretrievable, unrecoverable, “She lost her keys.”
3. (of a person) Very confused, insecure, or in great difficulties;
    “She stood there clutching her drink feeling completely lost.”
4. Denoting something that has been taken away or cannot be recovered;
     bygone, departed, vanished, extinct, gone, dead.
     “If only one could recapture one’s lost youth!”


I am fascinated by the meaning of language, by what it is we are really saying or referencing with a particular word.  The word LOST seems to be the absolute perfect choice in the context of grief.   When we lose someone we love, we don’t just lose the person themselves and the space they held in our lives.  We lose the future we planned with them,  the anticipated shared moments of daily life, the camera ready milestones we had confidently assumed would come.  We also lose our place in the world, our role, our identity.  Instead of the donning the new title of “Mother” with the birth of my daughter, I was given the title of “Tragedy.”

We lose trust, faith, innocence, confidence.  Before the loss of my daughter, I felt fairly secure in the framework I had established in my life.  The formula was simple and had served me fairly well thus far:   A + B = C.   There was predictability, order, safe expectations.   And suddenly it all came to a halt.  Life happened to me.  I was rendered completely helpless, ineffective, and supremely humbled.   In her book “Good Grief,” Debra Morris Coryell (2007) explores the idea that when faced with loss in our culture “we could say dead, fired or betrayed, but we don’t.  Mostly we say lost…because lost has levels of meaning that both embrace the physical realms of loss and transcend it to include realms of emotion, thought and spirit p.5.”

In short, we lose ourselves.  We become lost.  Suddenly we must try to find our way in a cold, unfamiliar world, equipped with a compass that we have just discovered to be broken and a map that has just miserably failed us.  We must find a way of resuming our daily lives while wrestling with the weight of enormous, unanswerable, isolating questions.  Why? How? What now?  And we must do this under the microscope of curious scrutiny and well intended assessment (“So how is she doing, anyway?”)

What do you still know for sure?  What is it you tell yourself to get through the worst moments?  What safety or sanctuary have you created for yourself?  What has sustained you when all else has failed?

Food for the Soul:










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