We all deal with loss in very different ways and we can regularly see loss being given centre stage when constructing a characters driving forces to get things done.

Loss is something that we all go through and have to work our way through be it the death of a family member, the loss of a job, a relationship even an object. What is a minor concern for one person could be a debilitating and crushing experience for another and this gives us a problem.

As a naturally social species, we function so much better as a part of a collective all working together so a shared empathy to pain is vital but not all pain is viewed the same.

When I was younger, I injured my ankle playing rugby and was finding it hard to put any weight on that leg because of the agony. The general consensus was that I needed to get back on the field and at least see the final few seconds of the match out. Happily the clock ran down before I could be returned to the action but for the following week, my complaints of pain were written off as being just an ache and I was told to run it off during the next match. I lasted two minutes because I couldn’t walk let alone run. I was explaining what was happening to me yet other people couldn’t recognise the pain I was in.

Imagining physical pain is one thing but trying to understand the anguish of mental illness is a step even further. There’s still enormous stigma attached to an admission of mental illness because so often, people are unable to understand what those people affected are going through. I’m sure people think that they’re trying to help but ‘just try and cheer up,’ may not be the perfect cure for depression of all flavours. Those who are giving the advice to cheer up get put out because they think the other person isn’t listening or it’s all in their head and the sufferer is made to feel that it’s them that’s at fault, “Other people have it worse than you.”

When I write characters, I enjoy adding in an element of would be negative life experience. That pain can show that these people aren’t always going to be the perfect hero and that can make them all the more relatable to the reader. The problems come from having to always try to find a loss that the readers will believe. The loss of a family member is the classic that we can all picture for ourselves. We see that sensation of hollowness that comes with someone’s death and can relate it to our own lives but other painful experiences may not have the same effect.

We all need to accept that the human race is a complicated thing and we all handle different situations differently. Public speaking can cripple some to inaction while others take to it like a duck to water. We just need to always be thoughtful when dealing with other people’s pain at any loss.

I was cut in two last week when our cat Baggins, died. We’d had him eleven years and he was a major part of our family. When I explained to people why I wasn’t my usual self at work, some were understanding but others looked at me with the classic “Is that all?” expression on their faces.

Loss affects us all at some point so we all have to look after those of us feeling it’s touch.

 

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5 thoughts on “LOSS

  1. I’m sorry for your loss, Owen & Jo. I know how big a hole that leaves in your life and heart. One day you might find another fur person – or two – to capture your heart, but the ones you lose are always with you.

    By the way, what happened to your ankle in the end? I hope it got looked at. O.O

    1. Thanks. Baggins was and will always be our little man but we’re going to love the next little beast just as much. On the ankle front, a little physio eventually then into the cricket season where I gave myself a stress fracture of the shin from trying to do too much.

      Play sport they said. It’s good for you they said!

      1. I know that one. I ended up sitting out PE (Physical Education, they called it then), for two years because of injuries to my ankle and wrist, which have continued to plague me through my entire life! 😸

  2. Good piece Owen. I recently had a conversation with a friend about this who was criticising another colleague who had expressed feeling let down by a friend when her cat died, when she had been very supportive to him when his Mum died. My colleague felt that it was ridiculous to compare a pet dying to a person dying. I pointed out that the worst loss anyone has experienced is the maximum they have felt and so to them the pain is as great , albeit it is generally assumed that people “top trump” animals.
    I am sorry for your loss but delighted that you and Jo are not letting your love go to waste. Many congratulations on your new arrival

    1. Thank you. It’s far too easy to end up playing ‘ my pain is worse than yours’. We can all only be the total of our experience. Surely we just need to appreciate that we’re all going to have the horror day at some point and try to look after one another. The human race needs to come together not tear apart.
      Also, Sausage the cat is settling in well.😁

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