My aunt is slipping away from us. Old as she is, frail as she is, even so - I don’t want her going anywhere. I want her here where I can see her, not a memory, not someone I love but cannot put my arms around. Yet, I know we are losing her.
Loss is terrible. You lose so many things in this life. A sock. A black umbrella. A bag you put down and forget to pick up. You lose those you love and cannot imagine life without. You lose faith - sometimes in God, sometimes in men, sometimes in men of God. A man in a hurry who believes the law applies to others and not to him, can lose a reputation as former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne is discovering. He can even lose his freedom. Over the last few years, bankers, priests, policemen, and journalists have lost the trust of the public. You can lose your job, your money and your home. You can lose your head, your heart and the best years of your life. You can lose yourself and wake up too late or not at all. You can lose your life in combat when it has barely begun or when you are ancient and tired of it all but one thing is certain - lose it you will.
I have lost some of those things. A golden brooch with a raw pearl heart, in the shape of a bee, and given by a lover. I lost the lover too now I come to think of it. More than one - how careless I was in my youth. I have lost the odd friend – their loss too I’d like to think. Lost a bag on a train, a bet on a horse, a baby. Lost all perspective on the odd occasion.
And yet, we carry on despite our heavy losses. Moreover, often we try to find that which we have lost, and there, right there, is our glory. Once in a blue moon, you find a king and dig up his bones. And when a child is lost, we don’t shrug, we try our damndest to find her – week after rainy month combing riverbanks and stark hillsides, checking out sightings in hot and far-off places. Sometimes if we are fortunate, we find the lost child, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we find glory, happiness, peace and love, or go on a journey and find ourselves, or something we weren’t even looking for. We find out we didn’t need “it” anyway, and we find just what we need. We lose everything and we find we can go on.