Lessons from loss


Yesterday, the day after Christmas, our 9-year-old daughter was overheard repeatedly saying her Nikon Coolpix camera was her favorite new gift.
Unlike in the costly days of film and development, she was free to shoot at will — and did. She even enjoyed the video option to capture her cats at play.
The camera was in her coat pocket when the two of us ran an errand and got a little lunch. When she closed the car door to head home, I heard a crushing sound and feared she was hurt.
Fortunately, she was not. But the camera in her coat pocket had been damaged beyond repair — after less than two days of enjoyment.
The cracked screen no longer allowed for the photographic images she had enjoyed preserving. It was frozen and useless.
Her sad, damp eyes nearly brought me to tears. The simple little accident had rendered the new camera useless.
My strong urge to “fix it” was hard to control. But there are lessons to be learned from losses.
We talked about sadness, the sense of unfairness she felt and the impossibility of going back in time and changing the outcome.
“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser,” I read somewhere once.
I resisted rushing to the nearest store, elbowing my way past gift returners, finding a replacement camera and further abusing my well-used VISA card.
Back home, after extensive conversations about life, losses and lessons, I looked for a hopeful response. My daughter and I agreed that we’d each save our money until we could put enough together to buy a new camera.
It may take a little while. But I’m fully convinced the new camera will be appreciated and cared for even more than the first.
And the lessons on losses will last longer than any gift found under a Christmas tree.

1 Comment

  1. Now you’ve almost brought me to tears. There is nothing quite like watching your child experience disappointment and loss, even at the material level. Samantha played with a tiny Disney Belle doll all day, only to have the doll’s head pop off. Not even Daddy could fix it. Of course, “Santa” brought her a few more, but the disappointment she felt that day was probably more painful for me than for her! You were wise not to fix things so quickly. One of our most difficult responsibilities as parents is to resist offering quick and easy solutions to every dilemma, even though we long to!

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