let go hand, maggie mcreynolds blog

My Loss Is My Gain

A couple of decades ago, I remember having lunch with my grandmother and her friends while they exchanged news about their circle: Shirley Bernstein lost an eye to cancer. Helen and Leo lost their house when the bank foreclosed. Bernice Allen lost her driver’s license after “failure to merge” during a driver’s test. Eeny Rubin, Stella Simon, Bebe Walsh—and several other septuagenarians—lost their husbands. “Tch,” they said into their single, cherished, daily martinis. “Tch, tch, tch.”

Inside, I was making a sound a lot closer to “AAAUUUGGHHH!” How could this be the stuff of pleasant lunchtime conversation? Was this all aging had in store for me? Loss upon loss upon loss?

I am still far from the age my grandmother was then, but I am old enough to have started racking up my own losses. Trivial things, like my natural hair color and my ability to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl without barfing. And hugely significant things, like a pregnancy, my dad and my dear friend Harry, both of whom died far too young at age 52, and my health when I contracted Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

There was one horrible year when I lost my job, my financial security, my marriage, my ability to stand or even sit upright after a bad health relapse and, with all of that gone, my very identity. I came close, I think, to losing my mind.

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What Color Is Your Rug?

rug pulled out from under you, maggie mcreynolds blogYou know, that rug that got pulled out from under you.

Jeff uncomplainingly put in 12 hours a day for 23 years, worked his way up from entry level to upper management, and met every deadline. None of it could save his job—or his pension—went the company went belly-up.

Diana and Harvey worked out together, gave what everyone agreed were the best dinner parties, parented three genuinely polite and lovely children, and never went to bed angry. It seemed like the perfect marriage—until Harvey told his wife he had realized he was gay and was leaving her for their longtime accountant, Tim.

Barbara is a non-smoking, non-drinking runner who ate organic food , drank filtered water, and meditates daily. She was shocked to be diagnosed with breast cancer last spring.

All of these people had the rug pulled out from under them. And, weeks and months and even years later, they are still struggling to find their balance and to move on.

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