Most days I don’t think about the waves. I function like a somewhat normal person and my life seems about as sane at it can for that given day. I get things done. I might have lunch with a friend or have a mini-binge watching session of a good comedy. I might even laugh. I smile. I’m content.
And then out of nowhere, in the middle of a seemingly innocent activity I am engulfed by a wave that if I’m lucky just reaches my waist and throws me a bit off balance. I’m able to steady myself, brush myself off, blink back a few tears, and quiet the ache in my heart. Other times those mini waves are not in the cards and I’m knocked off my feet. My head is under water. I’m sputtering and flailing, trying to regain my footing. I can’t breathe. I can’t think. I can’t do anything but cry.
I can’t predict when the waves will come or how overwhelming they might be. Sometimes the biggest waves flow in and out, temporarily destroying me and yet I’m able to stand quickly- all the terror and pain residing. Other times tiny waves that lap at my ankles and cause little chaos linger for days. Or vice versa.
“Grief is a normal and natural response to loss. It is originally an unlearned feeling process. Keeping grief inside increases your pain.” -Anne Grant
I lost my loved one less than six months ago. I thought I had suffered loss in my life but nothing prepared me for the magnitude of what I felt when I saw that she was gone. I knew when I entered the house that morning and no one was waiting at the top of the stairs to give me an update. I put my bag on “my” chair at the kitchen table and set down my keys and tea. I remember feeling like I was wading through something I couldn’t see as I made my way the short distance to my loved one’s room. It was the breathless crying, the sound of sorrow that floated down to greet me, that was all the confirmation I needed.
My life changed forever that morning. Although her passing was not unexpected, it wasn’t expected quite that quickly. And nothing has been the same since then. I wasn’t prepared. There was no way I could be.
I know that it won’t always be like this. The waves will calm down a little, maybe lessen in frequency. I know that this first year is the worst. And because of the timing of her passing, I expect the beginning of the second year to be a bit rocky. I am fully aware that I cannot prepare for any of it and I just need to roll with it. I am going to continue to wait for the waves, get through each day, week, month…..until I can settle into a new normal for my life. One that goes on without my precious loved one in it.
“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”
— Edna St. Vincent Millay