Introduction to this Post
It’s been 3 months since I left my home in South Africa. I haven’t posted for a while. My laptop was a mess, my mind was all over the place and I just didn’t want to. This post is not about a specific place and my experiences there. This post won’t have photos as my previous ones have. These are my thoughts on loss. This post is not for anyone in particular. No, that’s a lie. I’m using this post as my personal outlet, my personal understanding of my experiences and the emotions that have gone with them. I’m opening my heart up and it feels like the right thing to do.
I have had the pleasure of spending the last few days with an incredible human being who has made me so conscious of truths and questions I have left unanswered and it is because of our interactions that I am typing this out right now. Thank you Zippy, you are a blessing to all who meet you.
I have begun to realise that it is incredibly important to focus on the positives of loss. We so often entertain our minds with the negative what ifs and hopes and wishes that so often won’t come into fruition. I will be focusing on 3 kinds of loss – loss of lives of our loved ones, loss of friendships or relationships that we thought would last forever and loss of our own identity. (Side note: I am such a people saver. But sometimes our solutions aren’t on the same thought pattern as the people we want to save and we have to accept that.)
Loss of Life
Starting with the hardest one. Loss of life. Knowing that we will never see them in their physical form ever again. I was alone, beginning a 19 hour bus ride from Genoa, Italy to Strasbourg, France, when I found out my beautiful gran, my Nonna, had passed away. The bus was packed with people so no free seats, it was uncomfortable. How do you deal with something so important when there are a bunch of other people sharing your space? My answer – Badly. I was blessed to have my family from all over calling me and messaging me to send me words of support. I had to very quickly realise that this was out of my control. I couldn’t change what was happening, but I could decide how to take another step.
Tears still stream down my face knowing that when I go back home the person who put me in this spirit of travel in the first place won’t be there. What I do know is that she is still alive in me. I carry her genes, her strong will, her spirit of reverence to God and sometimes… her stubbornness. Nonna was the strongest woman I knew and her life is a testament to that. She passed on at the ripe old age of 95 with all of her children around her and for that my heart rejoices. I love you Nonna. I can’t wait to see you when my time here is up. You have left a legacy in your children and grandchildren. We will all do our best to make you proud.
Loss of Relationships
I am so grateful for the people who chose to spend time with me. Every moment of every relationship made me who I am. I spent 4 amazing years with the person I believed I would be with forever. He was my partner in love, in friendship, and in business. Each memory made an imprint on my mind, body and spirit. We grew exponentially when we were together. We boosted each other when one of us was low. We had intense discussions about our thoughts, our lives, our truths. We loved each other’s company so much that many times no one else mattered. We were utterly and truly in love. But every person’s experience of love is different.
Sometimes we can love past each other, seeing different futures, different ways of things working out. A part of me still wishes we could have seen the same end goal. In my mind we could work through everything. In relationships though, we both have to believe, we both have to have faith and hope, we both have to fight equally especially when times are hard. But we are not always up for the challenge.
Loss of Identity
I have realised another thing about myself too. I compare myself to others and try and mimick them so I can become more like the traits I admire. But here’s the thing, I have my own traits, I have my own gifts to share, I have my own being that’s unlike ANYONE else’s. I am still on my journey of self-discovery.
I have tested the strength of my body, mind and spirit. It has been gruelling at times but I am still here and I’m OK. My mindset of “there is always a solution” is definitely what is keeping my going, as it always has. I have done things I would never have done or even wanted to do back home, and I have done them alone. I have travelled on buses, trams, trains and airplanes for long hours but managed to keep my mind occupied. I was never bored. I went out to a bar on my own (while messaging friends back home to pluck up the courage) and I met the most beautiful souls. At a bar, I know, who would have thought it? I went for a swing dancing lesson, I am learning to do a shoulder stand, I will soon learn how to ride a bicycle again (don’t laugh), I am learning new languages. But most of all, I am learning about people, seeing how we all fit together and how we can all be for each other. And I am starting to love myself more and more because I am seeing what I am capable of.
Any type of loss is a hard pill to swallow but these experiences are necessary to build us into the solid human beings we were made to be. I still have much to learn and understand about myself, my role and the tribe to which I belong but everyday I take one more step into the person I am.
So here’s my final word. Kindness. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Recognise that we are all connected, no matter where in the world we are. The same spirit that fills me fills each person I come into contact with. So make eye contact, hold someone’s hand, give someone a hug, because you don’t know what type of loss they are dealing with.
God bless all of you who read this and all of you who don’t. My heart bursts with love for you.