The Catalogue of Loss

by Lori Dwyer on January 25, 2012 · 20 comments

A whole year in, and things shift and change and slide into perspective.

I begin to catalogue my losses, all the things I am grieving for. I tally up what this has cost me. Because now, twelve months on, and I can let go of any lingering hope that things will change, that things will revert to normal, that the people who no longer love me will forgive me.

It takes a long time for shock like that to dissipate. A year, it seems, before you start to see things clearly.

It hurts to think of what I’ve lost, and it’s natural to shy away from it. But there comes a point where you have to look it in the face… letting go, so you can move on.

I am not the person I used to be, and some people seem to love me less for it… but it’s not something that can be helped. I miss the Purple Lori as much as they do. Occasionally, people mention that they’d like me ‘how I used to be’. And that hurts too… because the Purple Lori is gone, for good now, and if I could I’d bring her back. But that’s the equivalent of raising the dead, and that’s impossible.

I miss the friends I used to have. All my friendships are different now, and few of them feel genuine. Two of my closest girlfriends, my bridesmaids, friends of mine for over ten years… I’ve lost them both. One hasn’t spoken to me for eight months. No reason, no argument, no fall out… she just stopped calling, and I was still too far in a fog of grief of pain to make the effort. Charlie the shrink tells me it’s easier for people to avoid me. Dealing with me, seeing me, talking to me… it hurts because they can see my pain. Having no contact with me at all, they still deal with their guilt… but that’s much easier to ignore, much easier to turn away from completely if I’m not there, reminding them all the time.

And that other girlfriend I spoke of…? It happens with all friendships, most friendships, eventually, and it may have happened anyway. But she has drifted away from me, not nearly as enamored in this new Lori as she was in the Lori Before- I’m different, I’ve changed, she is busy… these things happen. Again, I understand that… I don’t like me much either.

Two friendships, that maybe I didn’t really need, that maybe I’m better off without… I know all the platitudes; I know that it’s them, not me with the problem…. so save the niceties for some other blogger, please.

Two of my own friendships, added to all those other things… the extended network of Tony’s friends; my Purple house and Purple life; my vision of the future, my five year plan; my sense of stability, safety and trust.

It just keeps adding up. The cost of it, the toll of that one moment of madness… the longer things linger, the more that choking dust of confusion settles… that first loss just keeps compounding. And the catalogue of loss, it just grows and grows and grows.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Just Jennifer February 1, 2012 at 11:43 am

I know you said you don't want the platitudes, but it just makes me so mad that ppl do that, just turn away from someone in pain.

I guess Loss isn't any one thing, but a bunch of things all rolled up together.


Mirne January 30, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I'm not the same person any more, of course I'm not. How can something so awful happen to a person and not leave a mark.

My friends have all gone. It's too much for them. They don't want to deal with it. The last friend who left, she couldn't understand that I'm angry at the world. That I loathe it that other people don't have three dead children. I LOATHE IT that my 3 children are dead but theirs are not. So she's left too. So that she can enjoy her busy life with her 2 (living) children. I'm too much for her and I'm not the person I used to be. She even said that she'd hoped things would go back to how they were. I was stunned. Completely stunned. She really didn't get it at all.


Melissa January 25, 2012 at 10:30 pm

I'm sorry Lori. It isn't fair that the fallout is so great. My wish would be that everyone in your life would rally around you – rather than pulling away. That sucks.
Lots of love.


Donna January 25, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I could never imagine doing this to a friend who had been through as much as you?! Shocking.. And don't ever apologise to anyone for who you are now or what you feel now til they walk in your shoes x


Zoe January 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Hi Lori. Two of my closest friends lost their father/fatherinlaw on Monday and so reading your post reminds me, spurs me on to make sure I don't give up on them however dark their grief is, and however changed, temporarily and permanently their relationship with the world is.


Brad January 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I've started following your posts of late. It gives me a broad idea of what to expect in the future. It's only been 3 months for me since I lost Her. Five month since She was diagnosed with a very aggressive GBM. I wonder if the hurt will ever go away.


stinkb0mb January 25, 2012 at 4:09 pm

i *love* Annie's comment and i agree with it wholeheartedly.

people come into your life for a reason [or a season as the saying goes], they stay as long as they need to and then yes they leave. however when they leave, others take their place because they are what you need now. it may not be obvious straight away why some have left and others have taken up residence in their absence but believe me that is a reason for it. even with all that being said, it hurts when people leave our lives, seemingly with no real reason but you're right Lori, it says more about them than you.

and then some people come and never leave.

just remember, that even when you feel it, you're never alone.



ruddygood January 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Honey, some people – MANY people – are just crap at dealing with loss, and more importantly, dealing with those left behind after loss.

Kind of crazy really, since death is one of those imperatives we all smack up against in some way, shape or form.

You've moved ahead of and away from them; they're not ready to deal, and they're at least able to recognise that, even if they can't articulate it very well or gracefully.

We *all* change, and there's nothing like a hefty dose of loss to shift us through a few transitions. The person you are now, the person you're becoming, will attract the perfect people for you.

Hang in there, gorgeous. x


Nicky Singh January 26, 2012 at 1:02 am

Hi Lori, Loss of long term friendships is very sad, however I honestly believe that new friends are on the way to you. I have also experienced similar situations as you over the years and have always found that it was for the best in the end. Good things will happen, just hang in there!

Nicky Singh.


Miss Pink January 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I understand this. Not to the same level because not near as much has changed with me, but I am losing people left right and center from my life and it hurts. I don't understand it, and it makes me feel so pathetically desperate because I just want a fucking friend and so I am clinging to what I do have (and probably sending them running).
All I can think is there is something wrong with me. That people don't want to be my friend for a reason, and well, it doesn't make you feel too good about yourself.

I do see a change in you, but I don't see a person to like less. I see some wonderful new things about you. Nothing that makes me shy away, want to cross the road to avoid you. I really do think they are missing out and it sucks that they are making you miss out too.


Jo January 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm

It's shit and I'm sorry.


Elizabeth @ wobblywibby January 25, 2012 at 11:00 am

Sometimes friends have to leave to let better ones enter your life.

And if it means anything, I love you just the way you are.



Ozzie Thriftmumma January 25, 2012 at 10:47 am

Lori, its not about quantity sweets, quality will always win. It hurts to lose people you thought cared but people are human and some cannot deal with things like others do.
Think about all the new friendships you have made. You are a strong beautiful woman who may have a burning heart, but she uses her heart for good.
First and foremost you need to become your own friend.


livingrightnow January 25, 2012 at 10:24 am

I feel the same sometimes. I wish you could just take all of the amazing parts of your life, keep them and somehow re-do the shitty parts, but change them for the better so you are just filled with happy memories. But it is the bad that makes the good seem oh so good and while we are living, we'l have to put up with the bad.


E. January 25, 2012 at 8:53 am

Thinking of you.


Annieb25 January 25, 2012 at 8:41 am

For all those you lose, you free up space to form new relationships. Relationships with people who come into you life because they are what you need now. Your losses are huge, immeasurable, but never lose sight of new gains. Start a list now of what you have gained, not just new people, but new realisations, new coping skills and new anything else that comes to mind. You will be surprised. Love to you xxx


Sarah January 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

Its as if a line gets drawn and some people can work out how to jump on over but others will always be left behind. I think when stuff happens you suddenly lose the ability to do small talk, to discuss things that seemed important before dont rate now and people dont know what to do with that….once the 'busy-ness' of the a death vanishes people cant offer practical things to do and only a few know how to do the other stuff. It must be lonely x


Eccles January 25, 2012 at 6:43 pm

I know that you wouldn't have had room for me in The Before, so the loss of those who have left has been my gain. I have watched you grow & become a strong, independent woman who is able to face most days with courage & grace.
I'm with AnnieB25, now you can start with your "Pros" list. Ummm, you "met" me, you've started a new career with blogging, you travel to blogging conferences, you're meeting new people ALL THE TIME!!, you've moved homes, you've taken Bump & Chop on an outing – just the 3 of you & had a wonderful time… you can add to this as you want. It's a list that's looking pretty good in my eyes. I met a woman who said that life is like a train journey; you climb into a carriage at the start of that journey, others will climb into your carriage, they will step out of your carriage, you will change carriages, you will see them in a different carriage to you, you may never see them again, you will take your children on their first train ride & you will send them on their own journey.
You made the Purple Life & as you have grown you have made a life in the Tiny Train Town. You will continue to grow & change, that's what we do. Wouldn't it be horrible to be the same person you were at say 5 or 15 or 25 with the same ideas you had back then??
Wow – for someone who doesn't say much, I've twittered on for a while now.
(I know – it sucks, it just sucks all the time. It's their problem, not yours!!) (X)


Good Golly Miss Holly! January 25, 2012 at 11:12 am

I can relate to this my sweet girl, not exactly on the same level but I do understand how bittersweet it as you lose your closest friends – My two best friends, the godmothers of my children have drifted away. Both with new partners, new friends, interesting lives, and no children of their own. Sometimes I wonder what the hell is so wrong with me? Will I have close girlfriends like them again? Sigh.

For what it's worth, I am as enamoured with new Lori as I am with the old x


Toni January 25, 2012 at 10:22 am

It hurts, when people leave you. It hurts even when you haven't got a tonne of grief to deal with, but when you really need them, and they're not there, it's like being stabbed. Again.
And yeah, they have reasons, and the reasons make some kind of sense, but that doesn't make it stop hurting.
I used to get so angry with people who'd say to me, "I know things have changed for you, but … you're not the SAME as you were!"
I don't know how the fuck they thought I could NOT be changed by what had happened to me.
There are things about yourself and your life that you don't like, Lori, and maybe some of those things are right and maybe some of them are you longing for the Before, but the new Lori that's emerged has so much potential! She's pretty frickin' amazing. And you'll start to see those things soon. I promise you this — there are things being built into you that you're going to love about yourself, and be proud of, even though you came about them in such a shitful way.


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