Read the whole essay here. - by Ruth Ozeki in Shambala Sun Magazine :
So what is the difference between losing and letting go? What makes losing feel like such a disaster? On an obvious level, it’s about control. When I let go, I’m in control; when I lose, I’m not. Letting go is a willful act; losing, a violation of my will.
I think there’s a powerful link between creativity and death. We make things because we lose things: memories, people we love, and ultimately our very selves. Our acts of creation are ways of grappling with death: we imagine it, struggle to make sense of it, forestall or defeat it.
To care for a parent with Alzheimer’s is to practice losing every day. I wrote a lot during that time, which was part of my practice. These are some entries from my blog :May 25, 2004A lot has happened. My mother turned ninety last month and we had a little birthday party for her.“How old am I?” she asked me.“You’re ninety, Mom.”Her eyes widened.“I am! That’s unbelievable! How can I be ninety? I don’t feel ninety.”“How old do you feel?”“Forty.”She was perfectly serious.I laughed.“You can’t be forty. Even I’m older than forty.”“You are?” she exclaimed. “That’s terrible!”“Gee, thanks.”She shook her head.“You know, I must be getting old. I just can’t remember anything anymore.”She looked up at me and blinked.“How old am I?”Later on, I asked her, “How does it feel?”“What?”“When you can’t remember things. Does it frighten you? Do you feel sad?”“Well, not really. I have this condition, you see. It’s called os... oste... ”“You mean Alzheimer’s?” I said, helping her out.She looked astonished. “Yes! How on earth did you know?”“Just a guess...”“I can never remember the name,” she explained.“Of course not.”“It affects my memory...”“...and that’s why you can’t remember.”She frowned and shook her head.“Remember what?”“There’s not a single thing I can do about it,” she told me, when I reminded her.“If there was something I could do and I wasn’t doing it, then I could feel sad or depressed. But as it is...” She shrugged.“So you’re OK with it?”She looked at me, patiently.“I don’t have much choice,” she explained, “So I may as well be happy.”