on love & loss

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable." 
- CS Lewis, The Four Loves

many of us have heard the famous quote, "'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

i find this to be one hundred percent true. 

loss is a part of life. a dark, heavy, lonely part, but a part that we all experience in many forms. 

it could be losing your favorite sweater, or losing your best friend. 

this past week we lost our family dog, winston. he was a part of our family for thirteen years, comforting me as i struggled through my teen years, always there to listen. i would take him on walks to the park by our house, and his silent solace made my volcano heart quiet. 

we got winston as a puppy, and we guided him into his old age. 

life is like a crescent moon, circular, but ending. we travel around the sun with an inescapable end in sight. 

i had a couple of conversations regarding the passing of our precious pup, on whether or not loving him was worth the pain of losing him. i said 'yes, it is' without hesitation. 

to love at all is to be vulnerable.

in opening yourself up to someone or something, you run the risk of shattering. but you're also opening the door to the joy that could be. a joy only fulfilled through requited love. 

the comfort that winston gave us all throughout the years made life more vibrant. his unwavering excitement when we would walk through the door and his constant companionship brought joy and light for thirteen years. losing him is hard, but not having him would have been harder. 

it's scary to open yourself up. but if you don't, you risk the chance of missing out on experiencing true beauty. 

i'll never forget a metaphor i heard once about suffering. it's like we are lumps of clay on the potter's wheel, and when we suffer, when we grieve it's like the potter is pushing into our clay, pushing, pushing and we can't understand why. but the deeper the potter pushes, the more room we have to be filled. to be filled with joy, light, love. 

so, in essence, the more we hurt, the more depth we're given to experience true joy. 

to love at all is to be vulnerable. 

life is so precious, and we must hold things in the open palms of our hands, so as not to crush them. so that they can leave when it's time. 

it's never easy to lose someone, to lose something that you love. but please take heart in knowing that i'm here with you. let yourself mourn for a time. be gentle with yourself as you heal. 

if you'd like, please feel free to leave in the comments the name of the person, place, or thing that you've lost. this can be a sign of acknowledging your pain, but also your gratitude for having them in your life while you did & know in your heart that you made their life better as well. 

healing takes time. but it is truly better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. 

take heart. the best is yet to come. 


Listening to:


  1. I lost my grandma nearly two years ago. She was my best friend and the sweetest, most loving woman I have ever known. She was my best friend, and I miss her dearly every single day.

  2. i lost my hometown 3 years ago. i lost with leaving, all my friends and a big part of my family. it was so hard for me to adapt to a new school, new house and new friends specially with my social anxiety but i took it as an opportunity to challenge myself, to open up more and to be resilient. 3 years later and i'm really happy that instead of letting the pain defeat me i used it to get myself back up stronger than ever.

  3. As I've grown up, the things I have been through make it hard for me to love and trust people anymore. I've lost most of my friends, and I have been lied to by family. I tend to shut myself away and not really open up to new people because I feel it's easier this way than risk getting hurt again.

    However, at my job this summer, I made a few new friends and actually spent time with them outside of working. Unfortunately, most of them don't live around here and left to go back home once summer ended. I haven't heard from any of them since, and while it hurts, looking back I'm glad I opened up a bit and spent time with them.

    Since summer is typically a hard time for me, I think this experience actually helped make this summer not as bad. It hurts to lose friends again, but I'm glad I had this opportunity. I can tell they helped me grow as a person and discover things about myself. As you stated, there is a vulnerability in loving, but it is better to love than not at all.

  4. My dad passed away a month before my 11th birthday. The hardest part about it was that my parents were divorced so I only saw him once a week... I am 21 now which means he has only been around for one half of my life. In a way missing him gets harder as time goes on because I realize how little I actually know about what kind of person he was. Sometimes it feels like a puzzle piece of my own identity is missing because of that.

    PS: Beautiful post as always, I'm sorry for your loss! Glad you can hold onto great memories!

  5. luckily I haven't lost many people, I've actually lost more untouchable things, but the one lose that shook my world was losing my baby niece Sofia, it's been more than nine years and I still feel her around.

    thanks for this post and specially thanks for sharing that methaphor, it makes so much sense, it's something I know I'm gonna think about a lot.

    ps: I'm so sorry about winston (such a lovely name), so much love to you and your people.

  6. I've lost a lot in the 29 years i've spent on this planet. Pets, friends and family. This Christmas will be the first without my Uncle Jim, who passed on December 23 last year after a fierce but inevitable battle with cancer. As a cancer survivor myself, it is hard to heal among the pangs of guilt for having lived and he did not. There are just some things I will never have answers to in this life. It is indeed a mystery as is vulnerability. An unknown force of hope pushes us to take the leap, and so we do, and we are always the better for having done so. It is crazy and wonderful, once we recognize the light always looks different at the end of each and every love we experience. It is good for me to stare in wonder at the twinkle of lights this Christmas season; it reminds me of the joyful light that was my uncle Jim. I believe his light still lives on, and even more so this time of year.

  7. I lost my best friend a little more than a year ago. He's still alive, he didn't pass, nothing traumatic happened to him. But something traumatic happened to me. When he got engaged he decided he didn't want me in his life anymore. He had been my best friend for five years. He was my everything and my everything was so suddenly gone - no longer a part of my life. But for those five years, I was happy. I've often wondered if it would have been better if I had never known him; losing him sent me into a year-long depression. Despite that, I wouldn't have been as happy for those five years, and even though I still sometimes get angry at him for his decision, I think it was worth it to have him in my life for the years I did.

  8. Lately loss has felt overwhelming in my life, but this post gave me some beautiful new perspective. Losing my grandpa has been very hard, and the other stresses of life haven't made it easier. But, it's getting better every day and I'm learning to celebrate the joys of life again. The love really does make it worth it. Thank you for your words, and I'm so sorry for your loss

  9. Thank you so much for this, Ashley. Today would have been the birthday of my Grandpa Don who we lost many years ago. My heart and all my prayers are with you and your family. <333

  10. i've lost my sense of direction and purpose in life. i thought i knew what i wanted to do and i had this whole plan for my life and school mapped out. but now after finishing my first ever semester of college, i have never been so confused in my life about who i want to be and what i want to do. sometimes i wish i could see into the future and see what type of life i'll have just so i can go back and be like relax yulissa. you're okay. take deep breathes. you're stressing now but everything will be the way it's suppose to be later. but unfortunately for me i can't do that. and i'm left here wondering.

  11. Linda ♥
    Four years and three days ago, she passed away. She was about to turn 21. It was so sudden I struggled with the fact that I would never hear her laugh again for months. I simply could not believe she wasn't here anymore.
    But weirdly, the hardest part was dealing with my brother's pain. He would have asked her to marry him, had she not slipped away. He's happy now, with a lovely girlfriend and a baby, but I know that every year, at this time, his heart sinks when thinking of her. And mine does, too.

  12. on 11/25/16 our very dear friend dave robb passed away after dealing with cancer. i can't say "battling" because he was in agreement with it and faced his last days peacefully with grace, love and appreciation for his friends who surrounded him at home. he was a brother to me, an uncle to my daughters. he was only 58. his humor, intelligence, curiosity, and humility are the qualities i try to carry forward in his honor. it was truly a privilege to know him. it sucks that he is gone now, so young, and that despite taking very good care of himself, he physically succumbed to this stupid, powerful disease.

  13. I lost my mom to a drunk driver 22 years ago. I was 20. I lost my husband to brain cancer four years ago. He was 40. I was 37 when he died. I've had so many people tell me that I'm young and I should try to find someone new, that I shouldn't be alone for the rest of my life but I have loved and lost and can't even entertain the idea of allowing myself to love again for fear of losing--again. But I'm going to take your words, Ashley, and read them every day and maybe in time, I'll take another chance on love if someone comes my way. Thank you. ❤️

  14. I lost my dad when I was 12. I'm 16 now. I was the "daddy's girl" between my sister and I, but we were both irreparably crushed by his death. I still think about him all the time and wonder what my life would be like if he was still alive. But I'm so glad to have my mom, who has always been there for me. Much love to you and to Winston ��

  15. Recently I lost an accuantice from high school mid june. Then i lost my dad's cousin Jim at the end of june. My friend Gaby was so young she killed herself sept 7th then lost my grandpa sept. 9. I hurt so bad I picked up smoking again. I hate it so much. I cut myself four time, one for each of them to let go the emotional pain. Hear it is months later. Still hurts, I still cry when I go visit Gaby's grave. Thank you for letting me share my pain.

  16. A sense of home. I have moved too many times, and nothing is the same anymore

  17. I lost my best friend two months ago. Thank you beyond words, Ashley. This was exactly what I needed to hear.

  18. Susan Fisher
    I gradually lost my best friend as we grew up. She was just one of those people who understood me from the very first conversation we had. She understood me better than I understood myself. I always thought of her as my soulmate, not in a romantic way, but in a way that made me feel as if our souls had known each other long before we ever met. It hurts that I'm losing her because she was my only outlet, the only place I could go to feel completely understood. Now I feel as if I'm a stranger to even myself.

  19. I lost my Guinea Pig named Rigo. He was my everything. Its been months now but when ever I think about him my eyes still water up. This post reminded me of him and it made me realize that even though I'm suffering now we had an amazing life together as it last. That I am still grateful that I got to take him from an horrible pet store. Reading this brought tears to my eyes because I thought of Rigo, but this time the tears where thinking about the good times. Thank you. I am so sorry for your loss. Please never forget your lovely words, because They Are the pure truth.

  20. I lost my Guinea Pig named Rigo. He was my everything. Its been months now but when ever I think about him my eyes still water up. This post reminded me of him and it made me realize that even though I'm suffering now we had an amazing life together as it last. That I am still grateful that I got to take him from an horrible pet store. Reading this brought tears to my eyes because I thought of Rigo, but this time the tears where thinking about the good times. Thank you. I am so sorry for your loss. Please never forget your lovely words, because They Are the pure truth.

  21. My dog Sheeba❤️
    She was there from a few days after I was born int I was nine years old and then we had to put her down. It was a sad time because she was my protector from my baby years until she passed. It was hard and I didn't want her to leave but it would've been harder to see her stay and suffer.

    My other dog Marley❤️
    He was around from 4 until 11. It was very sad because we hadn't seen him in awhile when he passed because we moved and our family friends took him in and I didn't get to see him before he got put down. He grew up right along with me too. Marley was depressed after Sheeba and he wouldn't do much because they were basically a dog couple. He then got arthritis and making him suffer or putting him down were our only options.

    I'm sorry for your loss Ashley<3, I might not know exactly how you feel because when all feel differently but I kind of understand. It's definitely hard to let go but we all somehow try to make it work.