“Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – unknown
I remember when I was young, being in the water and sinking lower and lower in the pool. I wasn’t sure if I would make it back up… somehow I did and ever since then I was able to float in water like no other – tread as much as needed and swim. I faintly remember those swimming lessons because I was so young but I do remember my mom being there with me.
Later I found calm in the water – no I wasn’t a swimmer (I did dive but only for two years in high school) yet I loved the water. I was at peace when going fishing with my dad or traveling to the beach with others. Mom was at peace on the beach. I went with our family a few times in our adulthood and so did Monterry but our travel plans were different from my sisters’ family and my mom. Monterry and I like to go to different places and they find comfort in the same place. Those differences make us who we are and that’s okay. But if I could have had one more beach trip with mom and savored every moment of it – I would.
In fact, when we found out mom had cancer and her health was quickly declining, my sister’s husband suggested that the three of us (my sister, me and mom) go to the beach. What a great idea and oh how I wish we could have done that. How I wish we could have felt the sand in our toes and the water nibble at our feet as we walked alongside the beach together. Oh, to sit on the lanai again and to get in the water and swim.
But now I find myself swimming in a different way – swimming in grief. Not being able to call my mom but listening to her last few voicemails. Not being able to text mom but reading our text strand and wishing I had saved all texts instead of just those in the past year (setting changed). Not being able to take a picture with mom but looking through pictures and missing her fiercely. Not being able to go shopping with mom, and not ready to go shopping yet. Dreading the first Easter without her – the first mother’s day – the first fourth of July – the first celebration of her birthday – the first… you name it.
Grief. That is what this is. I’ve experienced grief in many ways but none like this. One minute I am fine – the water is calm. The next minute I am reminded of something about mom and the tears flow – it is overwhelming. I have learned to say this is okay. I try not to cry in front of others but these are tears I cannot hold back. Tears of love and heartbreak and such a void in my life cannot be dismissed. It’s okay to swim. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to just be. This is me.