I had the opportunity to sit on the beach alone the other day (I know, right? How’d she pull that off? Lots of help!). The area of beach (long with a sandbar) and tide was such that I could put my chair on the shore and the waves were washing underneath me. I was reading and enjoying feeling the waves wash over my feet, the sun on my face and the ocean breeze flowing over my body. My perfect place.
I love the beach, the sounds, the smells, the warm breezes, the feel of the sand under my feet or on my hands as I lazily scoop it and watch it fall through my fingers.
As I read my book, I kept looking up to enjoy the beautiful world around me. Kids laughing (No, not my own…mine were back at the house, in the pool. The horror of it all…the beach only 100 yards away and they want the pool. I have not counted this as a fail in the Mom column yet because I feel I have time to right this tilted ship.), pelicans racing inches above the surf, the sand under my feet and of course, the waves. I kept putting my feet up and watching the waves wash around them, enjoying the feel of the salty water as the tiny waves which had drifted across the sandbar reached my feet, some only inches high.
As I repeated this act, I turned my gaze to all the waves around me. The “real” waves were breaking off the sandbar many feet in front of me. Big ones, the tide was coming in. As I watched these monster waves (they were really big!) and the tiny ones washing over my feet, I was struck with another way to convey the feelings of grief or more specifically of missing Declan.
Like the never-ending stream of waves marching towards the sand, so is our life since August 18th, 2010. In the beginning certainly we were in the throes of the worst hurricane or the perfect storm (to steal the film’s title)…waves everywhere around us, too tall, too many, crashing over us barely giving the opportunity for us to catch our breath before another was upon us. Like the body surfing of my youth when you catch that perfect wave…just a few seconds too early and the wave grabs you and tosses you like a rag doll. You struggle to find which way is up…as you roughly bounce off the sand below, tumbling below the fury of the wave breaking above you…finally finding your feet and standing up through the surf, sputtering for air as yet another wave of equal might crashes over you. Giving you that tiny moment of ok before unleashing its fury yet again.
As time goes on the waves become less harsh but you never know what type of day it will be with the waves…just like at the beach. ‘What’s the surf like today?’, you ask the lifeguard as you come over the dune to catch the first glimpse of the surf for the day. It’s not like you will turn around and leave…of course not, you’re at the beach! At the beach you get what is served up…calm, rough, strong under tow, it doesn’t matter. It is just what you will be dealing with today.
As I sat there, enjoying the little waves and watching the giant waves crashing at the break I realized how similar our life is to the unrelenting march of the waves. Have you gotten over it? Are you better? No. We will never be over it or better. Like the waves on the beach we deal with the death of our sweet Declan, every day. As time has removed us from that horrible last moment of life with Declan, the fury of the waves have diminished but they still come. Some days we are treated to light lapping waves like those off the sandbar or at the edge of a lake. Peaceful and calm but still the gentle reminder while other days the waves are crashing overhead and the rip current is pulling at our bodies…we struggle against the weight, the pull on our hearts. As I watched people battling the breaking waves as the tiny waves lapped over my feet, it also reminded me how each day is different for each of us and even in the moment we are battling different waves of grief, of memory, of love. But it is there, every day. It will be with us every day, like the waves.
Like the ocean and its waves there is a certain peace (at least for me) in knowing the waves will always be there, knowing my soul will always be connected to the tiny being who’s life I saw drain out of his body less than two years ago.