Naming the Loss

Like so many of us, these past few weeks have been hard. It’s hard for so many reasons, and I’ve finally put some words to what I’m feeling. Loss. Fear. Disconnected. I’ll get to fear and disconnected in other blogs. For now, I want to talk about loss.

I have this pervasive sense of loss. My son has worked so hard in school. He’s one of those kids that had Ivy Leagues asking him to apply. The stack of materials from colleges could fill an entire filing cabinet drawer and then some. I don’t even know how many emails he got. He stopped opening them.

The graduation ceremony was a time to feel incredibly proud as he walked across that stage. A time to sit up straight and say, “That’s my boy. He did well. I did well.” It’s a pinnacle moment in his life and mine. It’s a time to put the finishing touch on his childhood and embrace adulthood. And we’re being robbed of that. I won’t get to see him walk in with pomp and circumstance filling the space. I won’t get to hear his name called. I won’t get to see him walk across that stage, look up to find us in the arena (maybe that’s a pipedream, but I’m allowed) and flip that tassel. I won’t get to see him and his friends throw their caps in the air and embrace in a well-deserved hug. I feel robbed. All of these years of raising an incredible young man and I’m going to miss his shining moment.

I’ve decided high school graduation is for the parents and college graduation is for the students. My son is very laissez-faire about the whole thing. I feel this deep sense of loss. He is also incredibly logical and emotions baffle him to a great deal. I feel things deeply. It’s just one of many ways we are different.

I won’t just miss graduation. In the next two-plus months that we are sequestered, the following special occasions will be markedly different: Easter. My daughter’s 15th birthday. Mother’s Day. My birthday. Memorial Day. My son’s 18th birthday. That’s a lot of loss. And I feel it.

They say naming what you are feeling is an important way to move beyond it. They say it’s part of the healing process. So, I’m naming it. I’m exploring it and poking it, painful as that may be. I’m hoping that through this time I can find the joy and the special moments that might have passed unseen before. I am hoping that through this time, I will gain an appreciation for things that I might have otherwise taken for granted. I am hoping that at the end of these few months, 71 days as my daughter so aptly explained, we will all emerge from this with a healthy mind and a greater appreciation for the gifts we have. Until then, I will acknowledge the loss and then pick myself up and find the joy, one day at a time.

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