Reclaiming the Lost

The title of this blog obviously refers to the Nameless and his amnesia. But there is more.

Loss is a universal theme. Everyone has to deal with it. Most of one’s life is spent dealing with some form of loss. And every life is eventually lost.

Something is there, and then it isn’t. Its disappearance might be sudden, or it might just fade. It might come with a warning or be abrupt. Regardless, the result is the same: Loss.

Every moment in one’s life is laden with loss. Even the happy ones. There is no exception. The best example would be the birth of a child. A wondrous opportunity for the baby’s parents, but with a twist: their lives will never be the same again. Finances will become tighter. Spare time will become nonexistent. Intimacy will suffer. Gain and loss.

Even winning the lottery comes with its share of loss. The lucky winner effectively trades in their old life for a new one. Likely a good trade, but something is still not there after it is done.

All stories feature loss, and the best use the subject to bite us hardest. The more it hurts, the more vividly we remember the characters, their circumstances, and everything that happens. This literary device has been around forever, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

It isn’t even limited to stories. Take Dark Souls and the like for reference. Mere video games, right? Sure, except they like to take things from the player. And because they punish everything so brutally, every death and every screw-up is remembered vividly. It is addictive in the most ridiculous and unbelievable way; an ode to the eternal theme of loss.

But not everything is so dark. As loss follows gain, so too does gain follow loss. Sadly, this is not always apparent. Indeed, most (myself included) dwell on their misfortune for so long, they miss their opportunity to take something back. And a missed opportunity is nothing short of tragic. It is essentially a failed trade. The equivalent of being forced to pay taxes for a house one doesn’t own.

Bad stuff happens. By all accounts, bad stuff happens more frequently than good stuff. And it takes things from us. But those things are not really gone. They have merely changed form; shifted into something else. Every opportunity that would not have been possible without loss falls under this category.

A man loses his house in a fire but gains monetary compensation. A wife loses a husband, but is left with memories and experience; perhaps even a better man somewhere down the line. A soldier loses a limb but gains a book deal and a whole lot of cash.

Of course, not every trade is good. Some are great. Others are poor. All are better than just being robbed.

And this, I think, is important. Loss is inevitable. It is something that hits all of us, all the time. Often when we are not even aware. But we need to be aware. We need to see what we can get out of it and grasp it firmly. Because otherwise the moment will pass, and all we will be left with is loss.

That is what “Reclaiming the Lost” means.

Be strong, my friends.

M. T. Miller

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