Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How Do You Measure Loss?

I moved it under to after the jump, 'cause the damn thing autoplays.

How do we measure loss?

How do we measure loss? We measure it in the faces of the dead. The faces that haunt our memories and our dreams. How do we measure loss? We measure it in our own faces, the ones we see in our mirror every day, because it has marked each of us. So how do we measure loss? When the scale of it becomes too hard to absorb any other way, we use numbers. How many killed, how many maimed, how many missing. And when those numbers become too vast to comprehend, as they did two years ago, we had to turn it around. We began to count the living. Those of us who survived to continue the saga of the human race. 44,035, the sum total of survivors from the Twelve Colonies who settled on New Caprica with President Gaius Baltar as their leader and protector. 38,838, our number the day after we escaped. And the missing number, the one no one wants to face? 5,197. 5,197 of us killed, left behind or simply disappeared. 5,197 of all that remains of the human race, lost. The citizens of the Twelve Colonies entrusted their fate and their lives to Gaius Baltar. What we received was a reign of terror that staggers our mind and breaks our hearts. Instead of guidance, we got tyranny. Instead of justice, we got oppression. Instead of a president, we got a murderer. Today humanity holds him accountable for his crime. Gauis Baltar is not a victim. Gauis Baltar chose to side with the Cylons and to actively seek the deaths of his fellow citizens. For that he must pay the ultimate price.

-Prosecutor Cassidey, during the Trial of Gaius Baltar, Battlestar Galactica, "Crossroads, Part 1"

When I started this site, I talked a little about how I've been through a lot the past few years. I've sort of touched upon some of it, but there's still a lot that I haven't written about. Tonight, I'd like to talk about loss. I've always liked that monologue from Battlestar Galactica, because it was the first time that I had thought about taking that feeling of loss, and applying some sort of measurement to it.

In the past two and a half years, my step-dad left us, my brother died of an accidental overdose, and I went through a very serious, emotionally abusive relationship. Each one is a loss, but in different ways. Each one had a different feel, a different... weight to it. Admittedly, my brother's passing and the relationship were the harder of the three. But each of those two were such great losses to me, but in different ways.

When my brother passed, part of me disappeared. I suddenly very alone in the world. We did not have the best relationship, but he was, he is, my brother, and I always hoped that things would get better as we got older. They never got a chance to.

With the relationship, as I said, I was emotionally abused. I've realized that since our final separation. We began dating in the time following my brother's passing, and she helped me to breakdown a lot of the walls I had put up. However, as mine came down, hers went up, and that resulted in more drama than a Real World marathon. I went through so much that I didn't deserve, and was hurt in such a way that it took 6 months of me withdrawing and focusing on myself to get to a place where I could just put up a Facebook page (and even that was not without incident).

The loss of my stepdad was a surprise, but, after we learned more about his secret life, we were glad that he was gone. It has been financially harder for us, but we've managed thus far without him. So good riddance.

The loss of my brother, I measure in memories. I remember the good times that we shared, the bad times that we endured, the stories that he told me, and the ones that I saw unfold for myself. I think of how I'll never be an uncle to his children, something I was looking forward to being. But I also take with me a renewed strength and purpose, because, as corny as it sounds, anything really can happen at a moment's notice, so I might as well make the most of it. It's all I can do to honor his memory.

The loss of my relationship (I just realized that I haven't said her name, and I won't, not here), I measure in two ways: one, in the time that we've been apart. 8 months, as of this writing. Every day that she stays away and continues to live her life the way she does is a reaffirmation to me that her feelings for me were not the same as mine were for her. The second was is by the lost promises that she made to me: of being and building lives together, for traveling the world and sharing experiences, for having a family and raising them to be the best that we could make them.

Part of the reason I wanted to write this is because of a friend of mine. She went through a similar situation with her ex, and she's been dealing with that loss. There are some days that she does great, and others where she falls apart. The fact is, that's natural. There are days when I miss them so much that it hurts. But those days have become less and less, as I take the lessons I learned from my losses.

Jeeze, and there's so much more that I haven't even touched upon... Maybe another time.

But, I guess the moral of this whole post is that no matter what the loss, everyone has a way to measure it. Each loss means something, and it is possible to learn and grow from it. It's the best way to process it. To me, it's the only way to overcome it. But never forget that which you've lost. Never forget the weight of it. Always remember it, and do your best to use it to help you heal and grow.

Now, given all that I've written tonite, I'd like to ask you:

How do you measure loss?


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