What are the lessons of loss?

Curated by Editorial Fellow Manòn Voice.

Artworks by Greg Rose/Haykidd Media.

An abstract artwork depicting ten people standing in water. For nine of the people, the water is chest-high, and for one person, the water reaches their neck. The image is divided lengthwise by the water, represented by shades of blue, and—above the water—shades of red and orange. There is greenery in the foreground. Additional colors in the image include yellow and pink. Black lines outline the people’s faces and necks, and in some cases, their arms.

Loss is a part of the contract of living. Each of us will make the mysterious journey through the dark and changing interiors of loss many times throughout our human existence. To be alive means to live with the inevitability of loss, experiences that can lead us deeper into life’s mystery and closer to each other. However, we often experience loss in loss-averse cultures, where conversations around grief and death are avoided, which makes these passages all the more difficult to process.

We live during a time of rapid change and compounded grief—whether due to the threats of climate change, pandemics, food insecurity, war, and mass shootings, or more personal losses such as divorce, foreclosure, illness, intergenerational trauma or  the deaths of loved ones. Moreover, in cultures rife with division and domination—associated with capitalism, nationalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy—we can be further isolated and alienated from each other. In the midst of these challenges, the contributors to this Questions series remind us that we are not alone in the many, vast fields of our sorrows. The question itself, “What are the lessons of loss?”, is also an invitation to deepen our capacity to honor and face loss courageously and recover our vulnerability and connection to sacredness, each other, and the world.

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