Monday, August 15, 2011

Caught in the Undertow

Grief is like an ocean.  It’s like you’re standing, facing the shore.  You get used to the waves breaking at your feet.  Sometimes, you’re deeper in the water; sometimes you’re in the shallower water, and those waves breaking feels more manageable.  Because you don’t get to choose to face them, you don’t know when the big waves are coming, and they’ll grab you, you lose your footing, and can get pulled out by the undertow.  You’re underwater again, like in the beginning, sputtering and struggling for air.  You get thrashed around, torn up by the stuff on the bottom.  Eventually, you find your way to the surface, find your feet beneath you again, and begin the journey back to the shore, to the smaller, more manageable waves.

This is August.  I knew I was in for “deeper waves” this month.  There are just so many anniversaries in August.

I feel a little like I got caught in the undertow this last weekend, though.

We’re having a family reunion.  It’s been so great to see family for a reason that’s fun and not for a funeral, but it’s also brought up grief in a way that I was not prepared for.

As part of the reunion, we celebrated my grandmother, “Grandmom’s” 85th birthday.  We took pictures with her and all of the great-grandchildren.  I had no babies to offer for the photo.  That may sound silly, but it broke my heart.  In a situation like this weekend, when there’s kiddos everywhere, I feel an actual physical ache in my arms because they’re empty.

I’ve been grieving the husband I lost, but I’ve been grieving for my baby, the one in my dreams, too.

I hope, to get back to the ocean metaphor, that maybe, when all is said and done, my soul will have a really awesome tan and look great in a two piece with all of the exercise I’m getting out in the ocean.

Most of the "Greatgrandkids" on the bench, waiting their turn for the homerun derby.

Afterword, we had real Oklahoma watermelon.  De-lish!


  1. Wow. You hit it head on... thats how I felt before my vacation. Didn't want to have fun, didn't feel right. But I (actually my friends) pulled my shit together and had somewhat of a great vacation. I miss you!!


  2. I haven't known what to say to much of your blog lately, mostly because I feel so distant from that freshness of grief that it's hard to relate and hard to know what to say. I'm sorry. Silence is as bad or worse as the wrong words, because at least with the wrong words you can be outraged with a friend about how you canNOT believe someone said that.

    There should be a drinking game about people saying the wrong thing about widowhood, but I'm afraid that would have only encouraged me to drink even MORE, which probably would have led to alcoholism. Being able to finish 3/4 of a bottle of wine all by myself in a few hours isn't alcoholism, it's thirst.

    So... I completely understand this. I couldn't believe how hard it was to see my sisters have children and then more children, stacked up on top one another. I had asked God to be remarried before Reese had two kids, and then her firstborn were twins, and I felt like God was laughing at me, while gently saying "No, you don't get to call these shots, and Reese is none too happy about that either." My arms ache for the children that were supposed to follow B in quick succession. And just like you, I don't always feel that way - the waves can push me to shore as regularly as they sweep me out.

    God can give you children in new and unexpected ways. I have taken solace in the nephews at whose birth I wept happy and sad tears. I have taken on an entire nursery to love the babies in our church. It's not the same. It's better than nothing. And I do appreciate being able to hand a screaming baby back to their parents and getting my little piece of quiet back. But it's not the same.

    I love you.