Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Like the Ocean...

Tuesday, May 1, 2018
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Like the Ocean…

I once tried to describe what being widowed was like using the imagery of the ocean. For those who are not widowed, the initial thoughts of loss and grief are in the front of their mind, as they offer support and you are on their mind. As days, months, years pass, they go forward and on. As do we… but it is never the same. No matter how much time passes, the grief we carry is always with us. And it can lie still for a long time, only to rise up like a tsunami, and come crashing down on us.

Grief is a fluid, ever changing life force. Sometimes it can be angry, volatile, and too much to bear. You feel like you just might drown if one more wave of it crushes you. And then, you have periods of calm where you get your bearings, start to feel stronger, like it’s all behind you and you made it through. You enjoy the stillness, you start to see your surroundings, you might even feel happy and hopeful. And then, like the shift in the wind, something happens to bring on more waves. Maybe it’s an anniversary, maybe it’s a milestone like your child’s graduation, or an important birthday, or maybe it’s just a Monday and you hear a song that puts you back in a moment in time when your love was still with you, and you feel that crushing sense of drowning all over again. But you will survive. You will live. And you will thrive once again.

I wrote this to myself almost 8 years ago, and it still rings true for me: 

Swimming in the ocean of grief, you can either swim against the tide, tire yourself, and get nowhere; let the tide wash you out to sea, and drift aimlessly; or swim parallel to shore, end up further down the coast, and make your way back to where you were, aware that there will be another wave, but with new understanding of how to ride it out.

For me, fighting the grief is counterproductive. My waves have subsided from what they were in the early days, and I don’t get them very often, but when they do come, they come hard. I’ve learned to embrace them…to feel them…to navigate through…and then move forward. And while I am in the calm, I appreciate that I’ve made it there, and enjoy what is around me. Because grief can teach us to appreciate the here and now, and what we have. It shows us that we can live through things and still enjoy the beauty of this world, and like the ocean, it can wash over us, but leave us in awe.



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