Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A year of loss

We are approaching the end of 2010. This has been a year of loss. Losing a colleague and a friend to cancer has been the hardest loss, because we watched her disappear slowly from our lives over a number of years, but this year was especially tough because the changes in her were most pronounced. It is surreal when I think that we will never see her again. That will be the hardest to deal with, especially after the holidays are over and everyone goes back to their normal work routines. But the other losses were also gradual, just that they did not involve the loss of people directly. Those losses had more to do with general life things, like the loss of illusions (beliefs?) about life and work in general. I have not lost hope in the future however even if at times it seemed that way. My beliefs that there is justice in the world, that people want to work for justice, that nice people can get a break, that politicians want the best for their constituents, and that power doesn’t have to corrupt (and absolute power doesn’t have to corrupt absolutely) have been fairly well-shaken; I don’t know if I have lost these beliefs though. I hope not. But I am disillusioned. I have watched people at work gain power and change overnight—and not necessarily for the better. They gave up their moral values in their quest for power. I have watched other people lose their self-esteem and confidence after being treated badly or unfairly by some people in power. I have struggled with confidence issues myself after having been treated unfairly by my union leader. Other people I know have lost their jobs, followed by their confidence and belief in themselves. They don’t ask too much from life anymore and that is sad to me too. They have been beaten down. I hope they rise again but much of that is dependent on how the future treats them. Some people don’t rise again; my grandfather was one of them. He lost his drugstore during the Great Depression and he never recovered emotionally or psychologically. He gave up on himself and gave up hoping in the future, with unfortunate consequences for his wife and children. Life doles out portions of injustice and misery at times to us all. We never can really know when those times will happen, just that they do. Sometimes it is loss of health, or serious illness or death in the family, sometimes it is loss of employment, other times loss of money or material goods due to the economy, accidents or natural disasters. Whatever the cause, loss comes to us all and it is a painful life lesson.

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