Thursday, November 18, 2010

Loss & Re-Inventing


I was gonna talk about my recent crash and treatment again today but there is something more pressing.
I read a post that Cusp wrote this morning (check it out here) and it really resonated with me. This illness is so isolating for everyone. If you live alone then you rarely see other people and if you don’t live alone you spend a lot of your time watching your housemates leave and go off and do things in the real world while you get left behind. Over time many of us slowly lose everything that had been important to us in our former life. This week I gave my car away. I have not been able to drive since January and having a car rotting in your garage doesn’t make much sense. My brothers car died last week and so I did the sensible thing and offered him mine. If it was the sensible thing then why did it hurt so much when I watched it disappear out of my driveway? It’s a bit like catching a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and for a second you think ‘who the fuck was that’, ‘,oh, it’s me’. That undeniable reality smacks you upside the head. It is possible that I will be able to drive again one day, but it’s also possible that I will take a trip into space with Richard Branson …. possible, yes, but better not make that assumption.

I was thinking about what giving the car away meant and I realised that I have actually given a lot of stuff away recently, clothes, CD’s, just stuff in general and I had a lightbulb moment. I did the same thing years ago after my partner died. At that time I got rid virtually everything I owned, furniture, clothes, photos, everything and it was a devastating experience. I understand now that it’s part of the process of re-inventing yourself in order to survive. The person you were just doesn’t exist in the same form anymore and so you must shed some layers in order to get to your authentic self and start again within your new parameters. Knowing that this is what’s happening does make it easier. It’s so easy to just feel totally out of control when you are faced with loss of any kind, it’s nice to understand what is happening.

The crappy thing is that just because you understand the process of loss doesn’t mean that you can stop it. For us it runs deep and it’s ongoing. We lose our health, our jobs, our homes, our friends, sometimes family, our future, our dreams, sense of purpose …. The list is endless.

The good news is that if you are able to stop fighting against it then you can actually learn and gain some very cool stuff. Barry talks about this on his blog – here. So that is my goal at the moment, I’m looking around at my environment and taking a good look at myself and seeing what new and exciting possibilities exist.

16 comments:

  1. Great stuff Lee Lee...it's harsh but freeing in some way....reinvention is an amazing process...xxx

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  2. Well said, Lee.

    When I had to finally bite the bullet and sell my car -- which had only been used by friends for the past year or so -- it was more than just the car going. On the one hand, it was admitting that I was apparently in this CFS-thing for the long haul. On the other, it was freeing, not holding onto it any longer. And more. Like, memories. Like, the fun we had when you helped me pick it out, Lee.

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  3. LeeLee, you are one of my heros..Your honesty and willingness to keep going is amazing..and i think you got it going in a good direction here..i soooo KNOW the loss thing and the longing too..it's been many years for me now and it does drag one down i know...But these virus's just can be relenting..But anything Is possible..I Do feel you will conquer this..when it's that time..You have the inner strength and hutspah and you are just here for everyone and such a bright light...still..even in your down times! I send you my biggest love and light to you always..you are never far from my mind..keep re-inventing..you never know what you will come up with!! Good on ya buddy..xxxooo janie

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  4. i have this kind of dual reaction to the whole 'coming back to your authentic self'/giving things away deal...i find it at once liberating and also - not even sure of the word here - i hold on so tightly to what i have left that losing anything else has so much other meaning attached to it too...make ANY sense?

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  5. Love the elephant, that's me that is: Ooohmmmmmm (meditating!).

    Great post. I am also unable to drive, but the car is still in my name and i am still insured, but renewal time is coming and it's time to change it. I miss the freedom to just get in and go somewhere, even if i was not well enough to get out and walk about, a five minute trip up the road was a nice change of scenery. We get used to letting things go, as you say. I am still shedding things (and holding on to some things) even after all these years of illness. it is a gradual reinvention and we are ever-changing i suppose. off to read barry's blog now!

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  6. Cusp's post resonated with me, too.

    We have all dealt with a lot of loss, haven't we? Every single morning, when I drive my kids to their bus stop, I practically drool over the people in my neighborhood that I see out walking. I want so badly to take a walk again! To be able to take a walk every morning - why should that be such a big deal??

    Sorry about your car, but it was wonderful of you to give it to your brother. You've been through even more loss than the rest of us, it seems, with the loss of your partner.

    Glad you are able to see the positive side of loss in re-invention!

    Sue

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  7. Well I'm glad my post resonated with you and may have been some help for you to sort out your own thoughts. The letting go stuff is hard....very hard and I really felt for you when you let the car go. The other stuff is hard too. I remember after I was first daif and SO ill...like you are now ..I cancelled all the subscriptions I had to all the arts mags and journals. I was so furious and sad and angry and despondent because my final crash came at a point where my career ...everything I'd been working towards for so long and so hard...was about to really take off.

    Its taken my years to subscribe again and see that it is worth the money.

    It will take a long time to put everything back together again ...but it will be in a way that makes sense for the NOW and in a way which will support and nurture you and allow you to grow. As Janie says, and I'm sure a lot of us feel, you have a richness of spirit and character and all the material stuff isn't worth a jot compared to that (*)

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  8. Lee lee, what a eloquent post. I've been feeling losses acutely lately for some reason (job, friends, old home etc.), but you put it in a positive light when you consider it's part of reinventing or forging a new and different path. I didn't realize you'd lost your partner....that's really really sad. wow, you've had to deal with a lot. I think coming to term with a different identity, while difficult will ultimately make life easier.

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  9. this is just perfect...thank you!

    It’s a bit like catching a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and for a second you think ‘who the fuck was that’, ‘,oh, it’s me’. That undeniable reality smacks you upside the head.

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  10. Beautiful, true, wise and eloquent post. I don't share a lot of ME stuff with non ME friends - it's not an easy thing for others to understand - but I will share this. Thank you.

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  11. I totally connected with your post. In June, I lost everything. It's not the same as your noble act of giving your car to your brother - what an incredible selfless thing to do - but it really brought me back to ground zero. Now I'm rebuilding my life literally one spoon, pillow case, towel at a time. There are moments when I just get really frazzled at all the loss like you stated. At other moments, I feel free to start on a new path.

    I'm really proud of you.

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  12. Thanks Dominique ... it's so comforting when someone validates your experience :) xx

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  13. I could so relate to everything you said, Lee. Beautifully expressed. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

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  14. I'm so behind on my blogs but was determined to read your latest and I'm sure glad I did. This is a beautiful post, Lee Lee, and it was so moving to read all the comments and see how it resonated with everyone else too.

    What struck me was your comment that loss runs deep and it's ongoing. That's what makes it so difficult for me. Just as I adjust to one loss, there's another one staring me in the face. Giving the car to your brother was a beautiful thing to do. I hope you take some solace in knowing that and in seeing the incredible responses everyone has had to this post.

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  15. I just discovered your blog a few days ago but everything I've read so far resonates with me so much. You are putting into words so much of what I'm feeling and experiencing. It's amazing how similar people's experiences and emotions can be facing this type of illness. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your life.

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