Within. Without.

As I was walking down our lane the other evening, I spotted several fireflies darting about.  One of those little moments, when the ordinary is exquisite, I immediately stored the sight mentally, adding it to a little list I keep. This is the list of snippets and experiences I keep, to share with my father when I phone or see him. It must have been no more than a nanosecond before I of course remembered that I would no longer have the opportunity to share these little moments. I was almost physically winded by the thud of realisation.

I had thought when I returned to Yangon that perhaps grief might be a little kinder given that I am not surrounded by daily reminders of my father.  I am not living in the same physical space and  do not have those shared routines constantly prompting and reminding. Such naivety.  Of course I am surrounded by reminders.  Loss is not something external, it is within us.  Contained within our emotions and memories. Losing someone does not mean that the emotional ties are gone.  They are there forever.

Those reminders are everywhere.  Because they are within me not without.  When I received a Father’s Day marketing email from Pinterest yesterday, telling me that it is not too late and I “still have time to plan something for dad”, I found it hard to contain a mix of grief and anger.  I do not still have time.  It is too late. This is one of those gruelling hurdles, the first Father’s Day “without”.  Without my father.  I never will again have the opportunity to have that Father’s Day phone conversation, the line crackling across the distance, as I share those little snippets which I have saved up.  But I can’t fairly accuse Pinterest of being insensitive.  It is my association and emotions which prompt the reaction it does, rubbing invisible little sprinklings of salt into my too raw wounds.  It is within me, not without.

Nancy’s Point talks insightfully about loss, and shares important lessons, such as:

Grief’s intensity lessens, but the loss is for a lifetime.


monsoon droplets, captured like teardrops

Loss is something we experience from within.  Not without. 

Gradually adjusting to living without the person we have lost.

11 thoughts on “Within. Without.

  1. “Loss is not something external, it is within us. Contained within our emotions and memories. Losing someone does not mean that the emotional ties are gone. They are there forever.”

    This is so beautiful and so very true. It’s also very comforting.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Thank you so much for mentioning my post on loss too. Hugs.

    • Oh Marie, the loss of a parent is such a massive step in the journey of life, I completely understand that the feelings are so similar. I have been thinking a great deal of you and your own loss, and how critical it has been to be able to share part of this and process it through writing. Sending warm hugs and wishes to you across the seas xoxox

  2. 13 Years ago I lost my mother to cancer… I still miss her everyday because she is part of who I am and not having her in my life makes the part of me that shone with her a little less bright… yesterday I lost my father in law to cancer… the same outcome to this illness but a different journey… I feel your pain for it is also my own, the loss of a parent is a massive life changing moment…


    • Thank you for your comment, and I am so sorry to hear of your losses, both of which are so painful. The words you write about you shining more brightly with your mother’s presence is so powerful and beautiful. It helps enormously to know that the pain is not unique. Thank you so much

  3. Having just lost my father to colon cancer this past April, this post resonated with me 100%. It has been very difficult. Although I do feel him around and with me, I feel such range of raw emotions on a daily basis. Your words have been of great comfort to me. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful words, and I am sorry to hear that you too lost your father in April (my father died on 9 April). I dreamed of my dad again last night, another very comforting and surprisingly happy dream. I rarely dream of him, although I think of him so much. I too am comforted to know that these words resonated – it is such an emotionally raw time. Thank you and take care

  4. Pingback: Waves | Feisty Blue Gecko - a tail of the unexpected

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