Necessary Losses – There’s that word again: Expectations

“There comes a time when we aren’t allowed not to know.” ― Judith Viorst, Necessary Losses: The Loves Illusions Dependencies and Impossible Expectations That All of us Have

I’d say the time is now, at least for me. I can no longer feign ignorance, though at times, I do it very well. *grin*

Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst is the kind of book that was destined to be a best seller. Viorst is an incredible writer but … more than that … she is completely in touch with what it means to be human.

Here’s something interesting: She wrote Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and its sequels. Picture me shaking my head… not lightly… but sternly, rattling my brain. Seriously? The same Viorst that wrote this stunning, psychoanalytic book… also wrote that best-selling children’s book and many sequels? Really? Really!

She truly is a writer’s writer! She’s been a journalist and some might say, a humorist. She’s written for magazines. She’s written best-selling books. She’s a poet. She’s a powerhouse!

What is Necessary Losses about? Oh, only love, loss and letting go throughout the lifespan.*shrug* No biggie. Kidding. I don’t do sarcasm well.

Okay… let’s go:

It begins at birth… we must let go of the our connection to our birth mother to move forward into independence.

Well, we don’t need a smartypants to tell us that, do we? Or maybe, we do!

In fact, I know a few moms and daughters who could use a little untangling. But who am I to judge? I mean that sincerely.

Over and over (and over) again throughout our lives, we love, we lose, we let go. How we deal with those losses will determine how we grow, mature and eventually die. <<< That’s my simplistic summary of the book, right there. You’re welcome. 🙂

Necessary Losses is wonderfully written and easy to read. It is not a simple book, however. Viorst tackles every subject you can think of and not lightly… for example, let me share the Chapter 12 Title: Convenience Friends and Historical Friends and Crossroads and Cross-Generational Friends and Friends Who Come When You Call at Two in the Morning.

Phew!

There is nothing shallow about THIS book, that’s for darned sure!

Let me share something from this chapter because we’ve been talking about friendship off and on throughout this blog: Viorst says  – and this is my interpretation of her words, not a direct quote – that the popular saying is that your true friends are those who stand by you in adversity. Instead, she suggests that there is a far more subtle judge of who your friends are: Who stands by you in times of great joy?

Think about that for a minute… shaking your head in agreement, yet? Because I am.

I’m not going to back through a whole “thing” about my friendship history in this post (again, you’re welcome!) except to say this: Some of my friends who moved away from me, did so because I no longer filled their need of being needy. This is not to say that they left while I was hap-hap-happy or had just won the lotto… that’s not what I mean. At all.

I’m finding it difficult to articulate what I mean. I’ve typed the same paragraph over and over, then erased it (also over and over). Why? Because, no matter how I say it, I sound pathetic. They sound like Sugar Daddies (Mommies) throwing money or gifts or love at me. Blech.

I don’t think anyone did it with an agenda or with malice, at least in the beginning. But as time went on, resentment grew on both sides. It’s lop-sided friendship. There needs to be balance.

Yikes. Didn’t mean go there today. Ugh. Sorry! But ya know, it’s all good, actually… because every time I “go there” I am closer to finding that illusive understanding I crave so dearly.

Don’t let it deter you from reading this book, though… just know that it may bring up some… stuff. It certainly did for me.

6 comments

  1. I think I know exactly what you mean, Sheryl. Often times in friendships, one person is more needy than they other. Then one friend is in a more giving or supportive role, to the needier friend. Often this works splendidly well for a period of time and then something happens, resentment sets in, either by the giver, or the needier one, or both… All kinds of hurt feelings and misunderstandings flow from this point and it usually signals the beginning of the end. It’s hard to find an perfectly equally matched friendship. I would expect it’s rather rare. Lop-sided friendships I find are usually doomed to fail.

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