Ambiguous Loss. Something experienced by a quiet club that grieves in the shadows: women who’ve miscarried, parents of disabled children or addicted children, people with a chronically ill spouse. The death of a thousand dreams. There are no rituals for that kind of grief—no poems or tributes. No mourning, no resolution. Life plays out in a purgatory of what-ifs. “I actually envy you,” I confided to my widowed friend one day (radical honesty being our bond). “You have nowhere to go but up. What if Bob never really comes back?”
Ambiguous Gain. Like when Bob went to our kids’ back-to-school night for the first time in several years—something he’d never have been able to do as an anchor. (“So this is what I’ve been missing!” he said, sitting in a third-grader’s cramped desk, reading a note our daughter had left for us.) Or the way he started packing lunches, making the ham and cheese sandwiches and slicing apples. Our catastrophe allowed us to raise millions of dollars for injured veterans. And it allowed me to write—not just press kits for kitty litter and plantar wart cream, but essays and books from my heart.