I have this habit, the strange and common habit of losing things, especially my keys.

My mother had this habit, too. She was constantly looking for her keys.  She bought one of those “clap and find” devices and walk all around the house, clapping her hands, hoping the keys would respond.  She despaired over keeping track of them.  Sometimes, I think she’d misplace her purse, but I don’t have a certain memory of that. Mostly, it was her keys,  always scooting off by themselves.

My half brother, NOT my mother’s son, also is affected by this malady, so if you believe in metaphorical genetics, I am doubly afflicted. At our last visit, my ten year old nephew treated us to a spontaneous one man play which could have been entitled ” How my dad made my mom miserable by losing something on the way to the airport”.  He was hilarious, and my brother wasn’t the only one cringing.

I have also alienated my family with this behavior. It’s odd, not matter what “technique” I try to follow (put them in the same place, hang them up in an obvious location, always keep them in your purse, your bag, your backpack) nothing seems to stick for long. My keys have a mind of their own, they run off, determined to thwart my ambition of the day…the lofty desire to get to my job, to an event, to bring children somewhere they have to get to. I have been so frantic, so anxious. I can imagine clearly what my brother went through on that taxi ride to the airport.  Those who develop positive habits easily can’t maintain their sympathy for these incidents, and I understand that. My children got tired of turning the house upside down for me.  My ex looked on me sometimes with some compassion, often with contempt.

Fifteen years ago, I would erupt into a rage or panic when I couldn’t find my keys.  Fifteen months ago, my panic is not as severe, probably because I’ve lost so much that I no longer react to the trivialities of lost keys.  I decided on a psychological interpretation. Whenever I feared a loss, I’d lose something symbolically, usually my keys.  So many phrases come to mind; the keys to my heart, the key to time, the exam key, a key aspect, keys to the kingdom.  Image

A few years ago, I attached a bright orange lanyard to my keys, so they would stand out from the backdrop of where they fell.  That was modestly helpful. Now the orange lanyard is gone, and those sparkle ones are in fashion, so I got one of them.  Two, actually, one for the house and office, one for the car.  They still go missing, but they are now forced to twinkle for me, like captives in my life that can’t fully run away.

Last night (in reality,not in my dreams) I went to the store. I wondered about the cost of an artificial Christmas tree, as I don’t have the heart to escort myself to a lot and buy a real one, and struggle it home all by myself.  I got to the checkout with some small items, including a small tree, and I realized I had lost my wallet.  The fear of spending money has now conquered the fear of not getting where I can earn it.

The wallet was found, and a kind person is sending it to me by overnight mail. I reached a another watershed; this time I was only mildly panicked, and could imagine something short of dying as a way to cope with a potential permanent loss.

I cannot really express in words how painful loss is to me.  This divorce, although I wouldn’t turn back my decision, is a terrible transformation.


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