ISSUE Magazine

A Personal Dictionary – by Atiqah Mokhtar

Versailles from Estelle80 on Flickr

Loss /lôs/


  1. The fact or process of losing something or someone: “avoiding loss of time”.
  2. The state or feeling of grief when deprived of someone or something of value: “a terrible sense of loss”.

When I was trying to come up with I was going to write here some time back, I thought the easiest approach would be to put down in words what I understand about loss. Flash forward a couple weeks later, and I was still staring into space as well as a blank Word document, contemplating what loss means to me. I ended up googling the definition of loss (see above), staring at the smattering of ideas I had jotted down so far, and still wasn’t any nearer to writing anything. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and when I’m desperate, I end up doing lists.

So here’s a list of three things I associate with the word “loss”:

1. Death.

It’s inevitable. When I think of loss, one of the first things that comes into my head is death. And when I scan through experiences where death has occurred and how it impacted me at the time, I always remember this particular incident.

My grandfather passed away a couple years ago, and I remember the moment we found out. I had gone out for breakfast with my mother and we had just come back home, and I think I was sitting down to read, or watch tv, while she went to return a call she had missed. I suddenly heard this sound, it sounded like a gurgled cry. For a moment I thought it was laughter, I genuinely thought my mom had let out a choked laugh over something. Then I saw her face, and I suddenly realized it was the exact opposite.

2. Loss of self.

I am the kind of person who keeps a journal (and yes, it is more or less the “Dear Diary” sort), and I find that they are useful for times where I feel like I have lost a sense of who I am. Sometimes I cannot reconcile the idea of who I am in my mind with the person I seem to be externally. When that happens, I tend to go back to my journals to act as a compass. I read my words, in all my ugly handwritten glory, and they are familiar, and I am reassured, I can find myself in them.

3.Youthful ignorance.

At 23, I realize it’s a bit early to start worrying about growing old, but at some point, I crossed that line where you think about all the things you want to do when you’re grown up, and you realize that you are doing them, or are about to. So what now?  I used to look forward to all the things I’d get to do once I’m older, but I didn’t realize the other things that come along with it. Like realizing that as you get older, so do your parents. Or that earning money comes with the daunting task of managing it smartly. Or that having the freedom to make your own choices means you have to fully take responsibility when you make the wrong ones, you can’t hide behind anyone. I like where I am in life right now, but sometimes I think back on when I was younger, and it makes me wistful, and there is a sense of loss, though I’m not sure why.

This entry was written by atiqahmokhtar and published on 02/06/2012 at 00:01. It’s filed under Atiqah Mokhtar, ISSUE1, Musings, Writings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “A Personal Dictionary – by Atiqah Mokhtar

  1. Loges K on said:

    Great writing. Simple word that leaves thousand of meaning in life.

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