The printer is dead, with that characteristic grind and thump that usually means a broken plastic gear. No more paper is going to come out of it.
The Sony e-reader is dead, the one I bought for my mother, it’s e-ink screen permanently stained with a messy stain. I miss reading my books.
And my sister has started coming over here, trying to figure out how to clear out the house so we can liquidate it to cover the estate obligations to my brother’s family, equal partners in the loop now because she chose not to follow my mothers instructions to change the will in favour of me, the person who cared for the parents full time for a decade.
The weight of loss is falling on me this year.
In my mind, I know that loss can be freeing. We can’t both go backwards and forwards at the same time, so letting go of the old is the only thing that lets us move forward. Loss is inevitable but suffering is optional, based in the mourning for our hopes, dreams and expectations. Letting go and being in the moment is the only way to open our heart and mind to the new.
But loss, you see, well, it always feels like loss.
Leaping into an unknown and fraught future when you are carrying the burden of past choices and broken dreams, well, that’s not so easy.
Maybe that’s why kids are so good with growth, because they see their hopes coming true, understanding that mastery and good things lie ahead of them and only their past lies behind.
But when it feels like your best days are behind you, and they were pretty messed up to start with, a wasted life, well, hope and joy become hard to scrape together.
I know that in my future, the only certain thing is loss. I find that knowledge daunting and oppressive, even as I know that any challenge also brings opportunity.
A whole house to lose, a whole life to mourn, a whole body that feels beaten. The old is smashed and gone, and all I can bring forward are the knowledge, insights and stories it has left me with.
In the end, though, what do we ever really have other that we carry within us? Human lives are full of stories of loss and recovery, of destruction and reconstruction, of death and rebirth, stories where growth and healing and success only come after great loss.
Still, as I look out on all that is going to be ripped away from me this year, my experience of loss is profound and sad.
Wondering if I have yet another, better rebirth still left in me, well, that only seems like a natural question.