Finding Strength After Loss

We all have a basement strength that rises up and balances us when we need it.

by Luellen Smiley • More.com Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

All I have to do is look at her photograph placed in every corner of my house, and I regain momentum in my lifeboat. When I am particularly insolvent with life’s measures, I recall the years she spent fighting cancer so she could continue to hold my hand. How can I disappoint such a woman? I cannot, and I know that with more certainty than I know anything.

We all have a basement strength that rises up and balances us when we need it. Each time we cross that unpleasant road, and say good-bye to our friends, our pets, our parents, or our siblings, we have to find our basement strength. You can read poetry and essays, listen to opera or rap and find 5,000 ways of expressing the same painful stab of separation. If the comfort comes in just knowing — we all have that in common — then all you have to do is tap the shoulder of the man in front of you, and ask, “How did you handle it?”

Or as Henry Miller said, “All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without the benefit of experience.”

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