***DISCLAIMER/TRIGGER WARNING*** The “Grief Sucks” series is an ongoing response to my experience of a recent loss. As such, it may contain things that could serve as triggers for people who have also experienced loss. Finally, I respect that there are as many ways to grieve as there are people and I mean no offence to those who process grief differently than I do. Should you choose to stay and read, I ask only to be met with that same basic respect and understanding.
So, if you’ve ever danced with an ocean you know that when a wave hits the beach – even just as it curls its way through the shallows – its currents and power stir all things within and beneath it. Things whirl and twist.
Bigger things. Tiny things.
Crab shells and sand dollars hollowed out by gulls. Crystal and stone and those self same empty shells eroded through millennia down to grains of what we call sand.
Long reeds and scruffy tufts and bubbled slick pouches (nature’s bubble wrap is what I always imagined it should be called) of vegetation in shades of green and brown that were once anchored to the ocean floor or perhaps born to weave the ocean’s surface in drifts.
The carcasses of whales.
As a young teenager, I once rather stupidly turned my back to the surf at Cavendish Beach on Prince Edward Island and felt the full impact of a not-small wave hit me in the back, knock me over, spin me around as I tucked myself as safely as I could into a ball to protect my head.
The sand there is pink when dry, a terracotta red when wet so the most overriding memory of those frightening and disorienting few moments was that I couldn’t be sure that I wasn’t bleeding with all the red kicked up and floating around me.
This, is sometimes what grief feels like to me.
The reason I’m writing this post is because I was just now standing in my kitchen, was reminded of the gone-and-will-never-come-back’ness of my father in the morning flow of my thoughts, felt the wave of grief coming and watched myself as I literally put my hand out on the cabinet in front of me to brace for impact.
In addition to this delightful observation, I’ve also noticed lately how waves of grief seem to churn up the things around it. Under it. Behind it on the line of time. The empty shells and worn down grains of other parts of my life.
Kisses never shared due to fear or terrible timing.
States of what feel like perpetual failure that I’m not sure I will ever outpace or re-story.
Places I’ve never seen.
Pets I’ll never see again.
The carcasses of whales.
All of this other stuff sometimes churns up with the waves of grief that hit me each time I remember that my father is gone so that losing him is also a loss of everything I’ve already lost – or never got to have – all over again.
It’s the ebb and flow of a heart breaking and healing and breaking and healing distilled to an intense, brace-yourself-on-the-cabinet moment of flow and fracture and release.
And it hurts a lot.
And pain is what is I guess…