Do You Replace What You Have Lost?

We all have experience with loss.  When you have lost something — a pet, a loved one, a friendship — do you attempt to replace it?

In one sense, life is just an accumulation of various kinds of loss. Over the course of your life span, you will, at one point or another, lose just about everything, from your car keys, to your innocence, to your parents.

Since we all have experience with loss, we also can learn to deal with it. Some losses are more impactful than others, while some are downright trivial.

Replacement is obvious in some cases. Of course you replace your credit cards if you lose your wallet. Of course you send out your resume if you lose your job.

However, in some cases, particularly if the losses are emotional and not physical, it is not so clear. If you are emotionally devastated at the loss of a beloved pet, do you get another one? Or is the emotional wound so raw that you cannot risk getting hurt again?

Similarly, as friendships come to an end, it may not be clear that you will make new friends. For most people, making new friends gets more rare the older you get. Is that because you get pickier when choosing who to spend your time with? Or is it something else?

Generally, how do you deal with loss? Is your instinct to try and replace the thing that is lost? Or do you try to forget about it, and concentrate on other areas of your life?

Related questions: What would you do if you lost part of yourself? How do you deal with loss? What can you learn from loss? What do you miss? Who do you miss?

1 thought on “Do You Replace What You Have Lost?”

  1. Various life circumstances result in losing or less frequent interactions with some old friends. For emotional and physical well-being, it’s essential, if not to maintain prior numbers of friendships, at least to cultivate a healthy social network. I find this to be difficult. However, I am making an attempt. I get together with a few friends via some virtual space regularly. One, for example, is my friendship with Lee Urton (also of Intellectual Roundtable fame). However, I would like to find another friend or two nurtured through regular physical and virtual gatherings.

    Rebecca and I have thought a lot about death — in a healthy way. While it answers a different question (i.e., if we gain something, we need to lose something), we know most people will not want what we currently have. To not exacerbate that eventual problem, we’ve decided that if something new comes into the household (e.g., books), something needs to go — no clutter for a future person to take care of.

    While we have not reached the age yet when if we lose a pet, we wouldn’t think of replacing it, that time will be tough for us. Carlos, Franco, and (now) Luca have each brought incredible richness to our household. To think of not having that is sad. To “replace” that, I’d guess that some fostering or taking care of other people’s pets while they are on vacation may at least bring some joy, if not the strong emotional connection that a pet brings to a household.

    Lastly, while it’s not something I want to think of, Rebecca and I have told each other that when one of us dies, we hope the other feels free to find someone else to love when the time is right.

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