I used to live alone before I knew you.

A few years ago, I read Ordinary Losses: Naming the Graces that Shape Us by Elisa Stanford. The title of the book, the concept, really grabbed me (as well as the fact that the forward was by Lauren Winner). This is a book about the small losses in our lives, the kind we all experience – a friend moving away, a change in routine – and what those mean to us.

Lately I have been thinking about those ordinary kinds of losses myself – the end of a favorite TV show, a friend moving away, what our routine will look like when Mike is done with school . . . even the end of Harry Potter. Those aren’t good things or bad things, really. They’re just life marching on.

It’s the little things that fell me sometimes. I can get my mind around the questions, “What will I do on Tuesday nights now that Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars are gone?” and, “When will I see my friend again?” I can’t even begin to form questions about the big losses. And so I cry over the end of my show, I cry about my friend, but I still don’t know what to do to help myself grieve those big things.

After a farewell dinner for my friend last night, I sent out an email that probably sounded like I’d had too much wine. I hadn’t had anything to drink – if I was drunk on anything, it was the comfort and companionship that these friends have offered me over the past few years. In my email, I tried to say that when I met them, I didn’t have much of an idea of how to be myself. I didn’t feel very likeable, or that I knew how to be a good friend. These women (as well as many of my other friends) have accepted me as I am, have supported me over the past year, and I have finally started to be more comfortable in my own skin. I have had some conversations about that lately, about how confidence and forgiveness have worked their way into my heart and how it’s a visible change. So many friends have helped me take those steps, and it’s such a precious gift.

So, naming that loss, that friend moving away, is to affirm why it’s important – we’ll all still be here, of course, and we’ll be able to go on without her, but it’s only right to acknowledge what her friendship has meant to me. Hence the drunk-on-friendship (and possibly chocolate and cheese) email. I think, I hope, that learning how to say, “I am really going to miss you,” is practice for the bigger kinds of grieving. So I throw a party for the end of a television show, I make plans for Harry Potter, I talk and dream about what our lives will look like after Mike graduates, because I believe that those things teach me how to live in the abundant life that we have been blessed with here on earth, how to grieve things both big and small.

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