Marty Romero

The difference between sadness and loss

I am very familiar with sadness. It is a feeling that begins at the pit of my stomach and moves around my ribs and up my back through my shoulder blades to rest at the back of my neck. From there the feeling wraps itself around to choke me and makes my head throb filling my eyes with tears. That is sadness for me. I feel it a lot.

Loss is something completely different, and while I describe it as sadness, that isn’t really accurate. Loss is a feeling in my chest that makes me exhale a little longer and inhale deeper. It is hollow and it too is heavy. I don’t feel Loss as often as I feel sadness. I felt it when Fluffs passed away in December and I’ve have been woken up from dreams because of it too. Most notably has been a version of the same dream involving people in my past.

The dream involves me visiting with the parents of someone that I was close to and hear them explain that who I am looking for is not “here”. In the dream I understand that they mean that the person I am looking for is not currently home, but something in the dream makes me understand that the person is gone forever. I am never sure if they are dead, or just gone out of my life. It’s just then that Loss pummels me repeatedly with each breadth and causes me to wake up.

Loss is not sadness in that it doesn’t make me want to wallow or cry. There is a sort of resignation that accompanies Loss. The thing is that Loss is hardly ever present without sadness, but they are different feelings.

There have been other times when Loss has had a significant impact on me. Just before I asked Beth to marry me I dreamt that I was marrying Hilary instead and Loss woke me up with that hollow feeling in my chest at the realization that I had lost Beth for good. The most significant memory of feeling Loss was the night I watched my dad’s car make a right turn and drive in a different direction away from the bus that mom, my self and sister were in. That has probably affected me more than I recognize.

When I wrote this, I was listening to this:

One of the more obscure songs by Paper Lace.

Jose Romero