Having a Thing and Then The Loss of it by Ginger King

I recently received this interesting advice from a just for fun tarot card q&a.

Embrace change because it is the only game in town. Without the letting go, as the Death card represents, you would never get a chance to start over in life. This is a card of transition, not end, and its telling you to get past the fear of the end of the old so you can meet the new beginning with a clear mind. Change is the very thing that will keep you alive.

It really started me thinking about some of the characters in my Lost & Found Series.  Specifically Hope and Alex whom you will meet in different books of the series, and both are pretty good and the “moving on” part of life.  The letting go if you will from this reading.  Very many of the other characters and most people find endings hard to deal with.  “It’s the having of a thing and then the loss of it.” to crudely quote Charles Frazier’s blind man in Cold Mountain.

Another scene relevant to loss from that book which sticks with most readers is the conversation between Inman and Ada upon his return from war:

“She fit her head under his chin, and he could feel her weight settle into him. He held her tight and words spilled out of him without prior composition. And this time he made no effort to clamp them off. He told her about the first time he had looked on the back of her neck as she sat in the church pew. Of the feeling that had never let go of him since. He talked to her of the great waste of years between then and now. A long time gone. And it was pointless, he said, to think how those years could have been put to better use, for he could hardly have put them to worse. There was no recovering them now. You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and the damage done therein. For the dead, and for your own lost self. But what the wisdom of the ages says is that we do well not to grieve on and on. And those old ones knew a thing or two and had some truth to tell, Inman said, for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you are. All your grief hasn’t changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You’re left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is go on or not. But if you go on, it’s knowing you carry your scars with you. Nevertheless, over all those wasted years, he had held in his mind the wish to kiss her on the back of her neck, and now he had done it. There was a redemption of some kind, he believed, in such complete fulfillment of a desire so long deferred.”
Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

These two quotes are of particular importance in thinking about my own characters and my own life and sense of loss over people places, and times.  It also makes me think of how to frame these two characters differently so that the reader can also easily see that Hope and Alex are wired much differently than most of us in how they process loss.  Even if we later learn the sense of loss was still with them, even perhaps felt quite deeply, it was only their approach, their attitude that was different.

“You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and the damage done therein.” – True and then what you have lost is the time that exists in the now of your life.  It is loss for the sake of loss, a doubling and magnifying of it that creeps in until one day you look back on how much time you gave over to your feelings of loss.

“…for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you are. All your grief hasn’t changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You’re left with only your scars to mark the void. – True again, but the scars of grief will help mold you into the new person who values and cherishes things, time spent, and people much more deeply than they did before.  

Here is a little sneak peek into how Hope deals with the loss of her father and the loss of her promised promotion.

“You mean you are still going to North Carolina?  Hope are you crazy.  Thomas promised you that promotion for two years and you broke your back, too many dates, and risked your health to do everything he asked to land this merger.  Now that it’s just about here, he drops the bomb that the promotion is going to Jake!”  Sera shook her head and I just kept packing up files from my office.  “I wouldn’t do it.  Of all the rotten things to do and bad times to do it.  For goodness sake you just got back to work from burying your dad!”

That last comment Sera didn’t need to utter and remind me of.  I knew how much I’d given up to get Southern Foods to even talk with us about the merger.  My sense of loss was more selfish than I wanted to admit but giving in and quitting now would give in to mountains of regret my heart couldn’t bear.  The loss of my dad was hard, nearly impossible to move on from but I knew I had to.  He was the only family I had left. If I let him down one more time I couldn’t live with myself.

“Sera, If I don’t continue this to the end, I have lost everything I missed time with my Dad for.  Don’t you see that in the end, that’s far worse than just accepting that Jake got the promotion and that I have to go do the fieldwork.  Besides, Jake’s deal is much sweeter than mine.  I guess Thomas made his mind up based on that, not what he thought I’d given up to get this tiny little company to turn over their pickles to us.”

I wanted to say more but doing so would let me fall into Sera’s thinking.  I had been promised the promotion but  I had also made promises that I hadn’t kept.  The promises to my father that went long overdue, and some ultimately not kept.  Letting this get the best of me would not be added to my list of regrets.

“Are you going to help me, or stand there feeling sorry for me Sera?  I need you to get a grip.  You will still be my assistant, and in the long run, you may even be promoted because of your work on this Southern Foods deal.  So shape up sister cause the work is just about to go full throttle.  Now take that box out to my car with a smile.”

So Hope’s attitude is much that of the elders Inman referred to in his talk with Ada.

“But what the wisdom of the ages says is that we do well not to grieve on and on. And those old ones knew a thing or two and had some truth to tell…”

“All you can choose to do is go on or not. But if you go on, it’s knowing you carry your scars with you.”

Hope made a decision not to add wasted time of worry and loss to impede her from taking the next step as upset as she was and will later be revealed in a much more intimate scene.  For her this was the only path she saw to walk on in her healing.

Ginger King is the author (and/or) contributor to more than four books.  The first publications are part of the Carolina Wine Country Cooking series which is all about cooking with wines from the Carolina Vines.  King began writing contemporary women’s fiction with her debut novel Diamond Road ~ December 2014.  Watch the book trailers here She likes her characters smart, funny and sweet with a kick!  Look for the second book in the Lost & Found series Hope in Carolina in 2015.

The books are available at Second Wind Publishing Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and many NC wineries and other retail and independent bookstore outlets.

Visit www.gingerkking.com for more information concerning upcoming speaking engagements, winery events, and news about the coming titles You may also find there information about the author’s upcoming release dates, contests, and previews by following her on social media and reading her blogs:

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Watch an interview with the author here

2 Comments

Filed under life, writing

2 responses to “Having a Thing and Then The Loss of it by Ginger King

  1. Good post, Ginger. Having survived severe loss myself, I think your characters have really helpful ideas about dealing with loss.

  2. Little losses and large, accidental losses and the ones we bring upon ourselves… I guess I’ve been thinking about these too as I revisit family in England and think of the losses we chose to incur by moving away.

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