Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Grief and relief

We turn to metaphors to explain those things which are too complex to capture otherwise. Marriage. Death. Birth. Job loss.
Doors open and close in these metaphors; we emerge from ruts; we step from one vehicle into another. We even use one metaphor-laden experience to explain another: losing a job is like seeing a friend die.
If that's true, let me clarify the metaphor. Sometimes, losing a job is like a death that comes after a long illness. You've been hoping for a recovery, but when the end comes there's an element of relief.
That's the metaphor for many in journalism. A lot of us have been losing our jobs lately, and those who remain have felt the spectral shadow looming over them as well. When that bony hand finally lands on your shoulder, at the very least you can end the anticipation.
It's not much consolation, though. It's still a loss, and it still stings.
But the eulogy is nice. I've been buoyed by messages from friends and acquaintances, offering support and condolence and saying nice things about how well I've done my job. I feel a bit like a character in an old movie -- maybe one starring James Stewart -- who gets to go his funeral and hear people say positive things about him. It's comforting. It takes away some of the sting.
Those words will help today. To switch metaphors again, I've walked through a door. Been pushed, to be precise. I know another will open, but first I need to start walking down the hall.


  1. Hi Andrew. Cathy sent me. From what I gather, you're a tip-top editor and a really good guy. Things will be okay because of those two facts. But right now is time to grieve and adjust. May I recommend a good whisky and some fierce friends with sharp wit? When the hangover's done you can look down that hall and start walking.

  2. Yes...Cathy sent me too. I wish you all the best as you open that brand new door and step through. An adventure awaits. Best get that resume polished up.

  3. Bevvie once said how much she admires your writing. Even in these brief but passionate missives, your talent shines.

  4. I hope you find that next door to open and find something wonderful on the other side.

  5. Cathy sent me to visit. Sending support for you and your family at this difficult time. I hope that the new door opens wide for you soon.

  6. I'm also here via Cathy's place. I went from staff to free-lance, and survived the transition. That was "back then." Today? Not so sure.

    I hope a plethora of doors open up before you. If not, well, maybe you need to build your own door.

    Best wishes from the Bear.

  7. Andrew, I have been following your news with a heavy heart. The change in the writing and publishing industry in the last three years has been cataclysmic and I fear the greatest loss will be that of quality writing such as yours.

    I too went through a greiving process when I closed the Bookcase. I greived for lost life plans, lost friendships, lost connections to books and authors and lost community. I also greived for the loss of my identity within that community. Hell, I even greived for that quirky old, cold stone building I called my workplace and my home.

    For me it was the final sad chapter (sorry) of three years of what, on a good day, could have been described as a Shakesperean tragedy. (double sorry) The tale begins with my, very reluctant, departure from my family home and 25 year marriage. Chapter 2 has me being diagnosed with breast cancer and the subsequent surgery and chemotherapy. Chapter 3 is about my best friend not being able to handle it and cutting me off and another friend screwing me over. And then of course in chapter 4,I lost my livelihood with the closure of the store.

    At that point I had two choices. I could crumble into a mass of self pity and depression, which like heroin was trying it's best to poison every cell in my body, or I could try to muster what little self worth and confidence I had left in me and make a new plan for my life. Somehow (after much heated debate with the former I might add) I managed to dig deep and find the courage to do the latter.

    I am not sharing this to make this about me or to compare our situations or in any way diminish what you are going through. I am sharing it because I want you to be inspired by my story. Tragedy and adversity have a way to kicking you in the teeth and making you reassess what is important. And for some people like me, it even becomes the best thing that ever happened to them.

    I learned to appresciate every second of life that I am fortunate enough to be alive for. I learned to treasure my friends and family in a way I had never done before. (and also be a little more selective when choosing friends!) I learned to stop feeling sorry for myself and truly take responsiblity for my life. I learned to forgive and love in ways that I did not think was possible.

    So I am pleased to tell you I have rewritten the final chapter of my story. I have gone back to grad school to follow my dream of becoming a professional counsellor. I am in a new loving relationship with someone who adores me. And best of all, I am insanely happy, every day of my life.

    Hang in there Andrew. We all have our own journeys to embark on and I trust that yours will bring you treasures you never even dreamed of.

    Sending love and kindness your way.