There are always moments in life that we find a new beginning. However, there are equally times that are an ending. It may be work placements, careers of various types. It may be loss as an end for friendships. And even endings for friends and family members through death. Each in its own way brings a pain and sorrow. That emotion is common and yet unique.
Recently I lost a friend in South Africa who I have known since 1988. We met in Lusaka in Zambia while I was working there as a teaching and logistics officer for The Salvation Army. Matt Audinwood was a great support over the years while I worked in London, UK and he studied in Oxford. And after his marriage in Zimbabwe, we continued nearly yearly visits in South Africa. He died a week before my father in August this year. It was a hard loss for me since we had been friends for so long and the only person who understood what had happened to me in Zambia so long ago.
Then loss of contact with a friend in Mexico of several years has made it difficult in that those we often “bounce ideas” off of may no longer be there. The almost daily contact and conversation with someone who seems so akin to oneself means an emptiness is created. And this has happened. The gap has been profound for me. The loss as a disappearance.
The passing of my father (aged 91) and my mother (aged 94) within six weeks of each other in late August and early October, was equally hard. Coming so close together it made the loss almost unreal. It seemed a chasm had opened to me that left me often distraught and depressed. My life had revolved around the daily support to my parents living in separate residences due to health requirements differing for each.
What this is supposed to teach us is survival and resilience. But it doesn’t feel that way. It is heavy and sometimes debilitating. There is no one to reach to, and others have moved on with their lives. Work has restarted and the seemingly endless paperwork, banks, and lawyers’ appointments, never really permit the return to normal. It is a re-lived experience every time an envelope arrives in the post with banking or lawyer appointments.
I am sure there are many reading this who will understand this experience. I am hoping this might also give you a sense of not being alone. That what has been a year of terrible loss for me is something others have lived through and survived. We can rely on God and prayer. We know we are not alone.