What have you lost?



Whenever I appeared in my counselors office severely depressed he always asked me:  “What have you lost?”  It took me a long time before his answer made sense to me.

Since my father died in August 2010 I have been thinking about loss and grieving.  Even though we were estranged (to put it mildly) up till his death,  I still knew within my soul that my father loved me.  True,  his ways of showing me his love were outside the proper boundaries.  But still,  there was a tie of love that was permanently broken with his death.

Grief is the normal internal feeling one experiences in reaction to a loss, while bereavement is the state of having experienced that loss. Although people often suffer emotional pain in response to loss of anything that is very important to them (for example, a job, a friendship, one’s sense of safety, a home), grief usually refers to the loss of a loved one through death. Quote

My father’s death closed a chapter in my life that brought a sense of freedom.  Which created a lot of confusion and some guilt at first.

Later I remembered that for all those years I constantly juggled two longings in my life: the desire to be reconciled with my parents and the desire to be safe.  The problem was that I could not have both at the same time.  It was an either/or,  a tug of war that continued for 20 years until my father died,  since with his death the possibility of reconciliation has died too.

(My mother and brother are still alive,  but sadly it is not safe to even have a passive relationship.  In actual fact,  there is none.)

Since our family situation wasn’t even close to normal  (something I have only come to fully understand in the process of counseling) and we didn’t really have any relationship to speak of for about 20 years,  how do you grief this kind of loss?

It is even more complicated,  because I did not only lose my father. There are a multitude of other losses tied into our family life.  Some things were not only lost,  I never even had it in the first place.  I lost my innocence as a child,  I lost my childhood,  I lost a mother (who never bonded with me),  I lost a sister,  I lost a brother,  I lost extended family,  I lost safety, I lost hope…..

Sorrows cannot all be explained away in a life truly lived, grief and loss accumulate like possessions.   Stefan Kanfer 


That was the answer to the question my counselor used to ask me.  That is why I have spent such a big part of my life depressed.  And over time every depression grew worse.  And when you think it can’t get any worse… it still did.

When you feel hopeless,  every negative feeling is magnified.  You feel like you are in this eternal place of never-ending,  excruciating pain without any possible escape.  There is only one way out… suicide.

Suicide is not about wanting to die.  It is about escaping the pain.  About not being able to bear it for one day,  one hour,  one minute,  even one second longer.

I personally think that hell is a place where there is no hope whatsoever.

We have a saying in Dutch:  Hope gives life.

It is so freakin’,  totally,  absolutely true!

May you always have hope 🙂

PS  I welcome comments,  however,  this is a piece of my soul,  please handle with care! Thanks.


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10 responses to “What have you lost?

  1. “I personally think that hell is a place where there is no hope whatsoever.” So true! I love that saying “Hope gives life.” also very true.

    Sorry to hear about your struggles but I am very glad to see that you have clung to that hope. The world is a better place with you in it! 🙂

  2. Aw Rachael, thanks so much!
    It’s interesting to note (for myself that is) that while going through my personal hell for over 3 years and the aftermath of it for about 2, I now seem to get in a stage I can actually sort of write about it. I take that as a good sign 😉

  3. Beautiful post Fenny, I related to much of it and felt the anguish in your soul along with you. I am also bipolar and a believer AND
    there is an Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award waiting for you over at my blog!

  4. Aw, Elizabeth, you are a true encourager! Thank you so much! And you are a sensitive soul, a true artist with words. I’ll look at the award, thank you for picking me!

  5. I just love your blog and your writing never fails to evoke thought and emotional response. I understand the quandary of loss and grief. My dad died a long agonizing death from over fifty years on heroine (and anything else he could get his hands on) so that when he did died I was surprised to actually be both surprised and gutted. Addiction makes people selfish liars at best. He was rarely at his best… but I loved him more than I thought. The impact of his death was awful. And when when my brother who’d suffered from bipolar for a life-time hung himself I never experienced pain like it. He’d tried in various ways to end it many times before. I shouldn’t have been so surprised. But there is no preparation for such a loss.

    At the time of these losses – hope up and left the building. And when that happens – I look to suicide immediately. It’s why even though I#d love to stop taking my meds to be free of them, I can’t risk it. There is literally hours between my being fine and suicidal. And it really is hope, or the lack of it which stirs me there.

    Hugs to you – hoping you feel better.

    Shah at http://wordsinsync.blogspot.com/2011/05/monday-madness-linky-many-roles-in.html

    • (((Shah))), how awful to lose your father that way and even worse your brother! Those are devestating experiences!
      I think when people die it sometimes releases us so we are free to feel what we really feel, but which we couldn’t express while they were alive. You know what I mean?
      I am devestated to know that my mom is a full-fledged alcoholic – but I am not surprised. Somehow she has to get through live, she has chosen her drug and refuses any other type of help. This must have ‘killed’ my dad (not literally I don’t think, but living with a partner that refuses to be helped stinks and sucks imho) to see her like that.
      It really makes me sad. But gladly I know that I have to stay far, far off, as there is nothing I can do and whatever happens will be to my detrimend. No use!
      I am so grateful to God that He pulled me out and is changing me, so I know I have a life worth living, with hope!!
      Take care!

  6. Pingback: When I die | Spread Information

  7. Wow! Excellent blog! I so admire you for your effort Zarina. I've always wanted to share my backpacking trips in a blog like yours but have not got down to it. I will be going with my 3 friends to Seoul next Friday 21st Oct and work has made it quite impossible for me to do my homework on the trip. Never been so unprepared!! Alimldualhllah, I am directed to your very informative site. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. God bless! Where are you now? Jom kakak rasa nak belanja Zarina minum minum la! 😀

  8. What I find interesting about Puritanboard is it doesn’t require subscription to the WCF. You can be a Baptist and be a member. I suspect if you scratch the surface of some of its Presbyterian members you might well find more Baptists. This is reminiscent of Guy Waters’ appearance on a Baptist call in show to decry the FV.

  9. Sabbatical seems like this perfect, magical, all-about-my-work space when you don’t have it… then you get it and ‘real life’ turns out to be there too. Sad, eh? Enjoy what you can of it, and enjoy the good bits about your studfents!

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