I had a dream last night that made me think a lot about loss. It’s been on my mind lately in general since I’ve lost 2 family members in the last year, but the dream made me think about a different kind of loss. The kind where the person is still alive, but you still feel like you’ve lost them.

People come in and out of our lives: friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, family, coworkers. Sometimes that’s for the best (ahem, ex-boyfriends) but sometimes it can’t help but make you sad. Sometimes people come in to your life and they mean a lot to you. Maybe you have feelings for them, maybe they’re a close friend…in some way they’re important to you. Then something happens, they move. You have a falling out. You lose touch. Sometimes things just fizzle out. You try to keep in touch. You try to text. But it just gets to a point where you don’t talk anymore. It gets to a point where you know you’re probably never going to see them again.

This kind of loss certainly isn’t as painful as a death, but it’s painful in its own way. To know there’s someone out there you cared about (or maybe still do) and even though you’re physically able to talk to or see each other, it just doesn’t happen for one reason or another. Because one or both of you just chooses not to make the effort or make it happen.

I’ve definitely had my share of these in my life and it seems like the older I get, the more it happens. My life was much much different just 5 or so years ago. A lot of the people I knew or spent time with then aren’t around anymore. They moved or we lost touch or what not. It’s a weird growing pain-like symptom of getting older. It’s similar with dating. I used to always have some “option” floating around. Someone I was talking to, interested in, whatever. But it’s a very different situation now for a lot of reasons, some of them my own fault.

The people that are meant to stay around always will. The people that are willing to make an effort will always be there. But I think we all have those one or two people that we wish would have made the effort. That we wish would have stayed. Oh aging…



18 thoughts on “Loss

  1. Jackie,
    First of all, I have to say that I love your writing, it is so honest and refreshing. Thank you for sharing. Lately, I’ve also been feeling the “pain-like symptoms of getting older.” I moved away from Washington to go to school in California and in the process I haven’t been able to stay in touch with many of my friends back home. We say “let’s keep in touch,” but deep down I know that’s not going to happen. So I’ve painfully been trying to accept the fact, that this is all part of the process of growing up.

    This quote reminded me of what you said regarding the people that you wish would’ve made an effort, “When you loved someone and had to let them go, there will always be that small part of yourself that whispers, “What was it that you wanted and why didn’t you fight for it?” -Shannon L. Alder. I know it’s kind of a sad thought, but I think feeling that way is what makes us human. When you think about it, it’s these past experiences that allows us to appreciate more the friendships that have flourished.

    1. Hi Jacqueline (great name btw! 😉 ). Thank you so much for the kind comment! That had to be hard moving away from a lot of your friends and knowing you would probably lose touch with some of them. I met a lot of my friends where I work and when I left a few years back, I definitely didn’t see or talk to them as much and it made me sad. So on a small level, I definitely understand what you mean. My best friend though moved to Idaho about 5 years ago and I talk to her everyday and we see each other a couple of times a year. We make the effort pretty much. I have friends that live in the same area that don’t make nearly that much effort. But you’re exactly right. Losing touch with some people, or the people who do fade out make us appreciate the ones who stay and put in the effort even more. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  2. Hi, Jackie!
    I was just reflecting on this exact thing last week! In the last five years, I have lost my best friend, his dad, my dad, mother in law and my brother is moving to Florida. It sucks! I know its part of life, but it sucks because it’s like a domino effect; not only do you lose your connection with a loved one but the mutual connections to others through them slowly fade away. Even starting my master’s program, you would think, “Yeah!” new friends. Don’t get me wrong we have amazing people in our class and appreciate all of them, but I often feel a day late and a dollar short because three is about 18 year age gap between 98% of them. At 39, my idea of fun isn’t what a 23-year-olds is. Life right! I share your sentiment, “Oh aging…” the bright side is the other 2% have become my boys, and I am looking forward to summer when we don’t have classes, and we can do some activities that don’t require homework.

    1. Hi Gabriel! It definitely is one of the tough parts of aging. Having my best friend move was so hard so I totally understand that feeling! I’m lucky that we’ve only become closer as a result though. Before my current company, I always worked with people who were way older than me too so I understand the age gap thing. I work with a lot of very young people now too and at 32, I’d rather come home and watch Netflix than go out to a bard on a weekend haha. But that’s great you’re finding a silver lining in your boys and having the summer to look forward to. Sometimes all it takes is those few important people we love to make our world even more awesome. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Hi Jackie,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on a personal subject. I actually used to think about this subject quite often. After I graduated from college and moved away, I lost contact with the majority of my friends from college. People also moved away, started different chapter of their lives, got busy… and keeping in touch got increasingly difficult. And after a while, you just stop trying. It used to be something that made me quite sad. I felt like I was the only one making the effort to keep the friendship alive. I felt like I was chasing after these people who did not care about keeping me in their lives. But you know what? Through this experience, I was able to see who my true friends are and who will stay no matter what!
    It is a bittersweet process, I don’t deny that. It’s the memories that often get me. But life is an endless journey of relationships. 🙂 And by the end of the day, I know that I am loved by those who I deeply care about. And that is enough for me.
    And you are absolutely right. People who make the effort will always be there.

    Isn’t growing up so fun?


    1. Hi Ashley. Such a great point! I’ve had those same feelings about putting in effort without it being returned (even with people who live nearby sadly) and completely felt like I was chasing after them too. But at the end of the day, you’re right. You see who your true friends are because they are the ones who do put in the effort. We’re all deserving of someone else putting in effort too and if someone isn’t, as hard as it can be, then they weren’t meant to be in our life. The people who show us they care and love us are for sure enough, no matter how many or how few there may be. Another commenter put it perfectly…adulting can be hard 🙂 Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!

  4. Hi dear Jackie. In fact, I really disliked this word “loss” it sounds so negative and discouraging however, this word becomes a part of our journey of life. It takes me years to learned and to embrace the fact that things and situations of “loss” happens for various purposes, so that I can learn to let God take charge and take control of my life through faith. So that I can stop fighting and let the King of the fight to handle my life’s battles. Therefore, even in the midst of loss, I can still take heart and be strong. This is my personal thoughts. Jackie, thank you so much for all your sharing and inspiration thoughts, I’m so blessed to kind of know you through your blog:-).

  5. Jackie,
    I definitely get what you are talking about with loss and aging. Im still young (26) but the older I get the more loss I experience. And Im not talking just about death but having certain friends and loved ones in your life that aren’t there anymore. It happens more and more life goes on. Things change in my life or in their life and its just like that, they aren’t there anymore or you both are at different places in life. I think its good though to reflect on those people and have good memories of them. Even though they aren’t in our lives anymore doesn’t mean they don’t think about us as well. Maybe the timing wasn’t right and what each person was dealing with in that particular time in life made it difficult to stay friends. However, remember the connection is still there and its never to late to reconnect.
    Jackie, I just want to thank you for writing these blogs. I am currently a student of occupational therapy and reading your blogs has given me insight and understanding that school just hasn’t been able to provide me. I hope I can use this knowledge I learn from your blogs and apply it to being a great OT.
    Thank you again!

    1. Hi Ivana, thanks for the comment! That’s about the age I was at too when people started moving or coming in and out of my life in larger numbers. The unfortunate thing is I’m always really good about trying to stay connected. The dream was about one friend in particular that I was really close with but then moved away and now we never talk anymore because he stopped contacting me (though he’ll respond if I contact him) and he comes out to visit but never lets me know or wants to get together. So there comes a point when you have to just kind of let go because friendships are a two way street. It’s hard and who knows what will happen in the future but right now I’m happy to focus those people who are present in my life right now 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind words about my blog too. That means so much to hear that it’s given you extra insight outside of the classroom! All the best!

  6. Hello Jackie,

    I definitely know the feeling. I have had both types of loss in my life and both have hurt in different ways. I’ve always had issues making friends and keeping them. The good friends you have in grade school don’t go to the same high school, so you make new friends in high school. Those people in high school don’t go to the same college and so on. I find myself constantly jumping between thinking “Its ok. I’ll just try to make new friends here” and “What is wrong with me and why can’t I keep my friends”. Ultimately, I don’t think there are answers to any of it because life is just that way. I can try to be more social and use the technology of the day, but it gets frustrating when is just doesn’t keep working out. Sometimes it feels like no one else has these problems so thanks for talking about this subject. I look forward to exploring more posts in your blog.

    Warm regards, Shannon

    1. Hi Shannon. Wow is that so true! Life is built around coming and going and change which makes it so hard to make friends. Then you graduate and you aren’t around big groups of people your age anymore and it gets even more complicated. I totally relate to how you feel though. Making new friends often feels like dating for me. I don’t even know where to start sometimes. Where to meet people, what you do once you do meet a new person, etc. etc. Then sometimes your friendships change or people move like I talked about it my post. Growing up really can be tough sometimes! I’m glad this post resonated with you and hope you feel less alone in your struggle cause I’m right there with ya. All the best!

  7. Hello Jackie,
    I really love your writing as well it was something I needed to read today. So often I find myself as I grow that people come in and out of my life as well. We do experience this sort of loss and it’s very apparent when you look back on the memories you made with them and how you may not always be able to get that again with that person. I often find myself having feelings of guilt wondering if I am to blame at the loss of this friendship or relationship. I think many of us do this, many times I have to remind myself its life. People grow and change over time we all do as individuals and life takes us in different directions. I appreciated your insight on how you mention is being “a weird-growing pain like” its so true! At times the people I lost touch with was for the best and often times I ask myself those that I miss now what I could have done differently to maintain that relationship/friendship but in all honesty its a two way street. If only one person is trying to stay in touch or apart of your life it usually becomes less and less until eventually they give up and same goes for us. I find that one friend I’ve known for so long is incredibly hard to see anymore and if she even reaches out to me its for something for her benefit. I don’t think its a true friendship at this point because its one sided and yet I almost hold onto the fact of our friendship because of how long we’ve known each other but that doesn’t mean its a good reason to be apart of their lives if you are the only one trying. It’s hard but we have to learn to let go at times. Yes, like you said it isn’t as painful as death yet you find a sense of loss knowing how good it was at one time and the curiosity if it could ever be that good again. We just have to remember that those who are apart of our lives chose to be and want to be just as you want to be apart of theirs. You can’t greave too much after losing someone because often times it was for a reason things drifted apart yet I do still have hope that if things are meant to be it doesn’t hurt to reach out one last time to try to mend something because they might feel the same and if they don’t its a learning experience for you and you should never feel guilty for that loss because you tried.

    -Melissa Cesar 🙂

    1. Hi Melissa. So true! I’ve done that same thing too, gone back and questioned if I could have done more or what I might have done wrong when a friendship fizzles out. But sometimes it just happens and you can’t force people to maintain and friendship and we shouldn’t have to force anyone to do so either. They should want to maintain it! And it’s for sure a two way street. I have a friend similar to yours so I can completely relate to what you’ve been going through there. It’s hard to let go, especially if it’s someone you do a lot with or something like that. It’s taken me a long time to realize that my friend isn’t putting in the same effort as I am and even after bringing it up, nothing has changed. So I’m slowly realizing I just have to let it go. I love what you said at the end there. You should never feel guilty because at least you tried…and that’s all any of us can do. Thanks so much for your insightful feedback 🙂

  8. Hi Jackie, I really love how insightful your post is! Regarding this topic, you couldn’t have said it better! With each passing year, I feel like I’m constantly going through cycles of this. You would think that with all the social media, maintaining friendships would help a lot however it does not always guarantee interaction or actual friendship. I used to feel guilty if I stopped making the effort to reach out to my friends constantly. However I’ve realized that one can only do so much. A relationship takes two people, not one person to sustain it all. Like you stated, “The people that are meant to stay around always will. The people that are willing to make an effort will always be there.” Life is short and full of opportunities! 🙂

    1. Hi Rebecca. You put it perfectly also! I had that same feeling, feeling bad if I didn’t reach out to my friends all the time, even when they weren’t doing the same. It’s tough growing up and learning some of these lessons but at the same time it teaches us what to put up with and what not to (friends that don’t put in the same effort,etc.). For that I’m definitely grateful. I try to remind myself that I would rather have one or two really good friends who do put in the effort than a bunch who don’t. Thanks for the comment!

  9. Hi Jackie!
    I really enjoy your posts, but this definitely resonated with me. Unfortunately loss has been a big part of my life as well. I think your first loss leaves you a little vulnerable and raw. At least that’s how it was for me. After losing my best friend and Dad right after each other, I became very sensitive to losing people at any level. I would even try and cling on to people who were just not supposed to be in my life and to my own detriment. I soon realized that every moment is a teacher and sometimes, most of the time for that matter, people in our lives provide the lessons. We are all evolving creatures and sometimes you just grow separate ways. It doesn’t mean one way is wrong or right. It still hurts at times, but I just think of that Dr Seuss quote ” Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” (On a side note, I would like to go back and read all Dr. Seuss as an adult- so many life lessons! Hehe :)) But again, I think even those hurtful endings are intended to push us a certain way. For instance, my last break up was so rough, but I think it had to rip me open so I could throw myself into my next endeavor- so I could see my intended path. I guess we just have to be gentle with ourselves and the process. In a sense, every loss has a grief process. I think it comes down to an art of how gently we let go. For life truly is a delicate balance of holding on and letting go. Thanks for sharing your story, so raw and so beautiful! You are an inspiration.
    Lots of love,
    Paige McCampbell

    1. Hi Paige. First of all, I think you should write a blog! That was one of the most open and eloquent posts I’ve ever gotten on my blog. I appreciate you sharing your story so much and am so sorry you had to experience such deep loss so close together. You’ve inspired me to go back a read Dr. Seuss again too. I had forgotten about that quote. My last (and only real) breakup was very much the same way. It unfortunately put some walls up but overall it taught me a ton and I have no regrets about the relationship because of it. Thanks for your comment. You were my inspiration today!

  10. Jackie,

    I often think about my own loss of connection with certain people in my life and it deeply saddens me. It’s difficult to think that at one point of time they were some of the most important people in my life, but things like you said “fizzled out” because we didn’t make the same effort. I like that you made that observation that as we grow older, this problem happens more often. I often feel like I am always out of time, as if God secretly shortened the time for me as I grew up; but it’s as always, my own skewed perception of time.

    Technology has been a blessing in a way, because we are allowed to interact with people all over the world, despite the distance. Something that I started doing was writing down one person that I should talk to on my calendar for that week. It’s not much, but it allows me to take some time out of my week to reach out.

    Thank you for being so honest and genuine, and for having a way of words that speaks to so many people.

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