What Have You Lost?

What Have You Lost?

I spent my life believing death is around the corner.

When I started this website, I never anticipated wanting to talk about death or loss as part of it. I know in previous posts I’ve referenced how your circle of friends and supporters might change as you start to change your lifestyle, and I think that’s applicable to the topic of death and loss too, because for each person that exits your life - they leave a hole.

I spent my life believing death is around the corner.

Some of my very first memories are of my father’s parents’ funerals. Or maybe it’s because they’ve been talked about. Either way, I find at times I can linger or back track through every death of a friend or a relative I've lost...

I’ve always been acutely aware that there is another side to this veil. Some darkness lurking around the corner and an end to this life.

At times I’ve been in such despair I’ve questioned my own right to live. Another story entirely and not a place I'm at now.

I have already outlived family, friends, a parent and a sibling. In my short 30 years I can almost feel the next loss coming based on the lapsed time from the last, and I can count into the 50s how many funerals I’ve been to. It’s as though quarterly, or maybe even monthly, someone exits my life by theirs ending. If not death, then a change in life circumstances has one party peacing. Every loss or death breaks a fragment of my being. I have to fight the belief that I am totally alone because everyone will always leave me  in this life.

Perhaps our social media explosion has allowed me to know to a further extent what happens with those you even loose daily touch with. I see old high the loss of acquaintances and people I used to know but still hold fond memories. These losses are still a reminder of the end game and mystery of what comes next.

I love so deeply when I love. When you make your way into my heart, you become carved into my rib cage. Then for whatever reason, I feel every bit of hope and despair all at once. I think it’s because I feel the weight of all your tragedies too. Too many lives matter too much to me, and too many of those same lives have been lost. At the same time I worked hard to love far and wide but never too closely for a long time because the closer I am, the more it hurts to lose you.

Don’t even get me started on the need to kill off parts of yourself to become who you really want to be. That one’s still fresh - as I feel as though I’ve recently cut ties with every cliche thing about myself I used to love. I've lost touch with those I know longer share similar interests with also. Maybe that’s what happens when you truly transition into adulthood. That doesn't mean I didn't love those parts of myself or those people. 

Rebecca Soulnet basically says you’re a kid in your 20’s because all of your history and experiences are from growing up, but by about 30 childlike things have become distant as life can harden you in your 20s. The realism of things sets in as you grow and the curiosity and wonderlike stages of development fade.

I think I missed that stage of growing up or did it backwards because growing up for me happened fast. I felt and saw things as a child that I drank to numb as an adult.  I have always felt heavy and weighed down by life’s deadline. I definitely attempted to numb it in my college youth. I realized it all the more existentially when I sobered up and grew up around 24-26.

I carry with me the memory of each loss. Each death. Each part of myself I said goodbye too. As a writer I carried a false belief - that I had to keep in my back pocket all my sadness. That great writing was born from great sorrow.

I see now that state of mind means I’ve lost most of my hope. I’d like to continue to change that. My ability to see glimmers and rays of gold in a mostly gray landscape is a thing I love about myself now.  I believe I can seek contentment, or better yet happiness in enjoying however long my human experience is. Learning to grieve loss when it happens but be at peace with the inevitable.

There is so much beauty in writing about what’s beautiful.

I’ll meet death when I meet him. I’d like to not obsess. That doesn’t mean that I won’t still feel the anguish of longing. I’ll still wish for any of those that have left this earth before me to be back here on this planet alive and well today. Because I still, and I will always, miss them. Some things are just too heavy to ever set down. I will find lighter things to carry with me though, to balance the load. Sunshine, feels like it’s making me stronger already.

Apples, spread love now. Let’s not hold ourselves back. Speak our truth and do it often.


K Sullivan

1 thought on “What Have You Lost?”

  • This is on the same wavelength of Saint Death <3

    Depiction: In the Tarot de la Santa Muerte, "La Santa Muerte" depicts the Santa Muerte cloaked in white, surrounded by various symbols that represent the Santa Muerte and her power. In her right hand she holds a scythe, and in her left she holds the world. Behind the Santa Muerte, illuminating her image, is the bright sun.

    Symbolism: La Santa Muerte represents endings, new beginnings, transformations, and transitions. The cloak of the Santa Muerte in this card is white, a peaceful and protective aspect of Holy Death, but the cloak is darker than other white cloaks in the deck. This is because there is a transition of light happening in the image, but whether the darkness in the image is coming into the picture or leaving it, is a matter of perspective. While death may be the end of our physical existence, it's also the only way to get past this physical existence – into whatever might be next.

    ​The scythe in Santa Muerte's right hand represents her power to cut the thread of life when she sees fit. The globe in her left hand is a symbol of her dominion over the world, where death is a fact of life for all who inhabit it. The bright sun behind Santa Muerte is a symbol for life itself, but the fact that the Santa Muerte stands in front of the sun is a constant reminder that even the brightest suns will set.

    ​Balancing the imagery of the Earth and sun ​is the moon, used here as a symbol for the stages of life – new, waxing, full, waning. The owl represents wisdom and knowledge, a symbol for the things we stand to learn in death. The hourglass represents the unstoppable nature of life and the inevitability of death. Finally, the scales of justice represent equality – here symbolizing the absolute fairness of death and the fact that she comes for us all, no matter how successful or powerful.

    ​The black and cloudy background that makes Santa Muerte appear to be walking on air is a representation for the infinite reach of the spiritual or non-physical realm, which is another symbol of the all encompassing certainty of death – for there is nowhere in or out of this world where you can hide from her. The fact that she appears to be walking right off the card is another symbol for the constant progress and unstoppable nature of death – for no matter how much you don't like the idea, death is slowly walking toward you right now, at this very moment.

    In a reading upright, La Santa Muerte represents the end of a chapter in your life, the start of something new, and the beginning of a transformation or transition into your next new self. Although it may seem scary and uncertain, change and transition are as certain as death itself, and your ability to move with the current of change will do you good as you maneuver from one stage of growth to the next.

    ​In reverse, La Santa Muerte represents a period of no growth or progress. It is a sign that you may disagree with change or may even be actively working to prevent it. While it might make sense to you, your inability to accept change and progress may be preventing you from living the life you want or learning the things you need to learn.

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