Saturday, October 25, 2014
Mourning the Seasons of My Life
My cat died. A reunion with family members that I don't see very often was special but bittersweet. In fact, the living proof that we're all getting old smashed my black-and-white-photo childhood memories to pieces. My birthday the following month dropped me squarely into the retirement-eligible age group. Then cancer claimed my brother and continues to threaten our dad and a very young cousin. It's been tough.
As hard as it's been to accept these realities, the toughest part of the year for me was losing the writing community I'd been a part of for over seven years. I know this will sound insignificant and even silly to some, but the sudden demise of the online space I had called my virtual home for so many years hit me like a ton of bricks. Having spent most of my waking hours there every day for so long, the loss of that online space and the relationships that built it was as real as an F4 tornado flattening a small city.
When I first learned that the site was shutting down, I felt like someone close to me had suddenly died. Then after digesting the situation for several days it became more of an empty-nest feeling. Indeed, I feel eerily similar to the way I felt when our sons left home. Back then, I mourned for more than a year until the changes of going from a family of four to "just the two of us" took hold and became our new normal.
As the stages of mourning the writing site have progressed from denial through anger, beyond bargaining and now deep into the depression phase, I'm trying to grasp the hope that a new, maybe even better "new normal" will accompany the next step, acceptance. I look forward to when I'll be motivated to write again. Maybe eventually I'll actually feel like I'm part of another community.
Assigning the loss of my online home to a level equal to the loss of an in-real-life person, even a family member, may seem shallow, melodramatic, or even cruel. But to me the loss is real - and it hit me hard. I know that everything in life goes through seasons and that while I went through a bitter winter all summer long, it's fall that is beginning to bring healing to my hurting soul. Like the falling leaves outside my window, the hurt is slowly drifting away. Hopefully by springtime I'll feel fresh and new again.
Just writing these words has helped. Seeing evidence of life moving on, season by season, helps, too.
Photo from Flickr via CC by 2.0