Dealing with loss – big and small alike

November 22, 2013

To lose a thing. To see it slip right out from your hand. To discover how utterly powerless you are to stop it from slipping…falling..further and further away, till it’s a faint murmur.

If the word pain had a face, gender and shape, she would I imagine be dressed in material that all adds up to the phrase, ‘to lose a thing.’ Not a very nice woman I would imagine – the sort who likes to blow smoke at your face when you’ll still have that silly look that it’s all gone – you have lost a thing which you once coveted, taken for granted – it could be big or small losses – the passing of a loved one, could be that lump that’s bothering you lately, getting retrenched, losing your self respect as a family man who everyone thought could always be counted rain or shine to bring in the bacon. Unrequited love….lost…can take so many shapes and forms.

You can feel a slice of you dying…shriveling…like an ice shaving in the full blast of the sun.

But you know it has to go right on – life that is.

As when each of us experience a lost no matter how big and small, it’s still a loss. And every sort of loss has it’s own texture, hue and lingering bitter sweet sadness.

The profound sorrow that comes from losing the love of someone who you love with all your heart. The bitter sweet pang that one feels from getting retrenched or past over for a promotion.

Loss has so many shapes and forms…it’s an entire geography of pain……a hemisphere ranging from the very sharp kill you dead with a heart attack! to the languor when a pang of regret swells slowly in you as the storm of memories you rather not conjure are suddenly stirred……loss has endless shapes and forms.


“Most people in Singapore know this by heart, ‘once bitten, twice shy.’ No where else in this whole wide world, has the sandbox idiom, ‘once bitten, twice shy.’taken to such elevated helium heights except Singapore – where it really doesn’t matter whether you are Holland V Viriginia or Sengkang Sally. Doesn’t even matter whether you’re a corporate high flyer or a Ah Beng working in a car accessory shop.

Like I said at the very beginning most people in Singapore know it by heart – once bitten twice shy.

To me, this sums up the whole power and politics when we deal with loss. We are afraid. As the past cannot possibly inspire us to hope for the best.

So we hold back, keep quiet, stay very still and avoid all eye contact. The longer we do this, the more we begin to turn inwards and instead of trusting our hopes – we begin to deposit our faith in the ballot boxes of our fears.

It is really this lens of seeing the world that we all really find ourselves trying to make sense of the world – as when we are hopeful and not afraid – despite the many set backs and losses we may have all experienced. Then we will not allow our bad experiences of the past to color the outcome for the present or future.

This way we can give it our best.

I am sorry, this isn’t an entry for half way houses – there is no commitment without pain. This is the way I see it, walk through door with even one parts per million of your past and how it continues to haunt you and the chances are, it will all go wrong. As that is what fear can do, even in sand grain particles – fear.

Fear that it would turn out like the last time or since I could ever remember the way it usually turned out.

At some point I guess its natural for every thinking man to ask – why is life so cruel – why does it have to be heart wrenching. But as soon as I am assaulted by such doubts, I almost remind myself intuitively how the good times can also be purchased with commitment – crossing line. A line where you know the person who decided to go the long haul is the right person – you just know.

You make a commitment. As without commitment, how is possible to give it your all. So you need to commit with love – and to love is to always be hurt. The blessing comes with the curse.

As happiness without loss can never be happiness.

No! We humans aren’t old leather. Living doesn’t get easier with age. Life doesn’t get more supple with regular use – it’s always a risk. A risk even when you decide to say yes or no, maybe, perhaps…..or just do nothing.

Life is always a risk….you could find a person or even a puppy raise it up, see it bloom into adulthood and maturing. And in a flash it could all be gone.

But what do you do? Do you say to yourself – because it is so painful, I will never commit or love again?

In which case without love how can you bring out the best in anything.

I reckon it far better to risk it all – to make commitment to a person or endeavor and to see right to the very end. As although somewhere along this journey called life where the yes or no may oscillate endlessly… Perpetually….I would much prefer to go for the full experience than the half way house measure….”

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