What I’ve Lost….

I’ll be the first to admit it. My memory is not what it used to be for short-term things. Since most of my friends seem to be in the same predicament, let’s just say it’s an age-related loss, like diminishing hearing, thinning hair, and slowing down.

Since my recovery from cancer two years ago, however, I’ve been writing mostly about what I’ve recovered and discovered in my life after cancer. I am so lucky…

1. to be a cancer survivor
2. to have a loving family
3. to have regained much of my strength and health
4. to be able to do most of the things I used to do
5. to have found new activities I love
6. to be part of this writing community

What I haven’t written about, or even mentioned, are some of the things I’ve lost, or been losing since I had cancer.

1. I lost my confidence in always being healthy
2. I lost my relative freedom from seeing doctors
3. I lost my desire to continue being a teacher (too hard)
4. I lost the ability to exercise as I once did

Now let me tell you about what I really miss…

My favorite everyday hat. A red knitted beret which I think I lost while walking just a day or so ago. I put it into my pocket because I didn’t need it at the time. I even retraced my steps today in the park in the bitter cold of winter, hoping to find it somewhere along the path, lying in wait for me. I felt I owed it to my hat to search for it. No luck.

A couple of weeks ago I lost a cherished gift from a friend who passed away last year. Decades ago she sent me a handsome, handcrafted writing portfolio, covered in a lovely navy blue cloth with a tapestry pattern. Inside were special handmade papers, and nooks and crannies for writing papers. I used it infrequently because I was always afraid I’d lose it.

Around the time I did lose it, I was caught up in post-presidential frenzy: signing petitions online, going to local activist meetings, getting and sending emails to friends and various organizations, reading the NY Times from cover to cover every day for the latest outrage, and watching MSNBC news at night to find out what was transpiring that day. At least a week passed before I realized it was gone.

I must have taken the portfolio with me one of those busy, distracting days and left it somewhere. I have gone or called everywhere I can remember going around that time…with no luck. I am 99.9% sure I won’t find it at this point. Sometimes miracles happen; I’m hoping for one. The portfolio was such a lovely reminder of how my friend appreciated me. Now they’re both gone.

Maybe losing things is part of learning to “let go.” There are so many things I cherish that I will have to let go of eventually. I can’t leave all my treasures and mementoes for my children to sort out.

Still…I wish I could find that hat. Please let me know if you find it!

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35 thoughts on “What I’ve Lost….”

  1. It’s a bummer to lose our favorite things. I really liked, “Maybe losing things is part of learning to let go.” I hope you have two miracles and find the hat and portfolio. πŸ™‚

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      1. Or perhaps it’s just my way of trying to make myself feel better. Today as I walked through the park looking for my hat I began to fantasize about lost items…where do they all go?

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  2. I’m sorry you have lost some things that were so important to you! I recently did the same thing – in my most recent move, I must have left a whole box because there were odd bits that I noticed were missing when I finsihed unpacking. Some of them were engraved blankets that I have had for years, and it is tough knowing that they won’t be physically there anymore – but the memory of them is still strong πŸ™‚

    Also, on the beret front, you should read “The President’s Hat” by Antoine Laurent! It gives a fun take on what someone else’s hat can do for each new owner.

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    1. That happened to my daughter in her move back East from California. She lost track of several boxes of her notebooks and favorite college books. She still feels that loss. I will definitely try to find that Laurent piece. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  3. I REALLY like Hanna’s idea. That hat could be a wonderful story. I really like the way your lists evolved into narratives. Even though some of the things on your what I’ve lost list are really big things, I admire the way you gave more weight to the hat and the portfolio.

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  4. Barbara, I loved this thoughtful, reflective slice and I do hope your hat and your portfolio magically turn up. Your post reminded me of an incident about halfway into my freshman year in college when another dorm resident walked down the hallway knocking at doors and saying, “Excuse me. Have you seen my waistline? I seem to have misplaced it!”

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  5. Your post tugged at my heart and reminded me of Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “The Art of Losing.” Prayers to St Anthony that you find your beloved items! ❀

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  6. Your first four items lost are quite sad. Cancer does change life in many ways that you don’t even realize until it’s there, in your life. Losing those favorite things is a bummer, but you never know they might show up somewhere. Fingers crossed!

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  7. I love what Adrienne said about connections. When you think about it, we get attached to things because they hold special memories. Those you will always have. Nevetheless, I hope your portfolio and hat turn up eventually.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your journey. I have not had the health challenges, but my husband has and so I am often distracted. When I lose something….I wonder if it is about letting go or just the need to stop and breathe? Best to you in finding your beloved items.

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  9. So glad you defeated Cancer- a horrible disease that needs to be stopped. As we get older, or wiser; I think we realize that some things are just things, and some are memories- connections to those we love. Hoping you find your hat and portfolio!

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    1. The portfolio was a connection to another soul. The hat was just my favorite everyday hat. The color red made me feel good whenever I wore it. Maybe I need to find a replacement hat!

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  10. What an interesting way to look at loss. I’m quite certain I might be more bitter having lost things that meant quite a bit to me. You’ve inspired me to view loss a little bit differently and to maybe even write about my own losses!

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  11. Ditto on Adrienne’s comment . . . things are the tangible for those we love who are not longer with us and memories we hold dear. I’m still looking for a pair of jade earrings.

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  12. I am sorry you lost precious items! I hope the person who is lucky enough to find them, cherishes them as you did! (if they don’t get returned that is)

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