Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Struggling Back to the Shore

It is said that grief often creeps up on us when we least expect it and takes us by surprise. I've described it before as being like a wave where one minute you seem to be on solid ground, then all of a sudden it comes crashing down on you leaving you drowning, scared and disoriented. You could be standing on the shore just watching the small waves roll by for months or even years, then without warning you're under water once again and struggling to breathe as though this time was the first time all over again.

 Tonight, I am so far underwater I can't even see the sky. I haven't cried about Aaron in months...I have certainly teared up here and then but haven't had the urge or the need to break out in the kind of tears that seemed to flow so frequently in the beginning. It isn't that I've been ignoring my feelings - I still talk about him often and think about him almost constantly, but I truly felt that I had reached a place of peace, rest and stability.

 My trigger tonight was something so simple and so beautiful...a friend had shared the story of a woman whose family had been given a bag of toys for their little boys from a stranger in a parking lot. They noticed that the bag had a tag attached and when they read it, they saw the story of a little boy who had died and that day would have been his third birthday. The note simply asked for this family's little boys to enjoy those toys since the little boy in heaven wouldn't be able to.

 What started out as a small sentimental tear in the corner of my eye quickly turned to the kind of all out gasping, full body sobs that seem to be specially reserved for the kind of pain that can only come from the death of a loved one. It was a release that I hadn't even known I needed and for which I was certainly not prepared. I know with all my heart that I miss my little boy every single day, but that all-consuming sense of loss and mourning is usually carefully tucked away and guarded.

 So, I find myself once again struggling to breathe...struggling to bring my head above water and plant myself as firmly as I can in the ever-shifting sand beneath my feet. I'm not nearly as terrified of the drowning as I once was because I know that, in time, I'll find myself upright again and standing tall enough to face the next wave when it comes.

 And that, I believe, is the whole reason that I felt compelled to share this...if you are drowning or struggling to find your way back to your feet, don't lose heart and don't give up. Sometimes it takes a little longer than others but as long as you keep pushing and trying, you're going to get there - this is a part of the process. Reach out for help and accept it if you need it. And if, right now you find yourself standing firmly on the shore watching the waves, enjoy the reprieve and don't let yourself feel guilty for the break.