They say that grief comes in waves.
I'd have to agree.
For several years we lived close to the Atlantic Ocean and we spent many hours there watching the waves come crashing to the shore. I never found much pleasure in getting in the water but I did enjoy my time just sitting and listening. Seeing the bigness of the ocean before me.
When I think of the first few years of my journey with grief I think of that ocean. I think of standing in the water and seeing that big wave coming towards me and there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. I could only stand there and try to brace myself as it hit me with all its power. And most of the time it knocked me to my knees and I felt as if I was drowning under it. My hands and feet searching for something solid on which to stand.
When I did find my footing I stood there gasping for air, searching the shoreline for something familiar. Some sign of where the wave had taken me. Trying to figure out how far I was from where I had started. And, just as I was starting to find my way back, I would see it coming towards me. Another wave. Coming to knock me down again.
That's how the grief was for many years. I would see it coming. I could feel it building and it would hit me with all its force. I would find myself on my knees, on my face, laying there holding on to a little stuffed monkey that held the smell of my tiny girl. Gasping for air, trying to breathe. Looking for something to hold me up and help me stand again.
I would search for any sign of the familiar. Anything that felt normal. So desperate to fill the aching hole in my heart. I would cry out to God to make it end. To take the pain away. And He was always there. Even when I tried to push Him away, He was there. Helping me to my feet and holding me up. Even when the next wave hit.
I remember visiting a beach on the west coast of Florida and seeing a whole different ocean. This one was much calmer. I remember just floating there in the beautiful, blue waters. Feeling the gentle waves rocking me like a baby in her mother's arms. Soothing, comforting, calming. There was no fear of being knocked over and pulled under the water. Just peace.
As I have entered this fifth year of grieving I am realizing the grief still comes in waves. But, like this ocean, they are calm, soothing, reassuring. When they come I find myself just giving in to them, laying back and letting them carry me where they take me. They are my friends now. Reminding me of who I am, how far I've come, and where I am going. I don't look out in to the future and dread them. I welcome them.
Like the waves of the ocean, they remind me that there is someone bigger than me who is in control of everything and I can trust Him. He is holding me in His arms as I face the waves, be they big or small. There is no wave to big for Him. They also remind me that the one I long for, grieve for, is being carried in those same arms and I am only one breath away from seeing her again.
I can't even imagine the ocean that she is playing in today.