Grief is difficult to explain. Its presence is always noticeable, but the strength of this presence is mutable. Overtime the momentum increases and once the heartache becomes too much to contain, conceal and ignore the wave breaks. How I hate those breaking waves, I dread waiting for them to approach, because I know… I know their irrepressible nature.

Floating over each wave, the back of my head rests on the sea, while my eyes drift off into the clouds. The clouds take me away, deep into thought. Although my mind wanders, I am not thinking. I am lost in the formation of the clouds; nothingness is all that is here with me. I am distant from the shore, the rocks, the beach, far away from any type of reality. I try to figure out the shapes in the sky, but I cannot. I cannot make out anything. Not today anyway, for today they take no meaningful form. The waves pass gently under me and make their way to the shore, and now that my focus isn’t on the clouds I start to notice their movement more.

The moment of realisation is upon me. The realisation that the ocean isn’t like the clouds. I cannot construct the ocean into the shapes I wish, nor can I ignore the shapes they make. This wave doesn’t calmly lift me over itself or pass me by, like the previous ones, but fully embraces me. Crashing over me, I am consumed by its power and helpless to its surprising strength. All sort of control has been lost, as I am tossed and turned along its path of destruction towards the destination of the shore. Thoughts and emotions are focused on the tragedy of what has happened, the pain, hurt and challenges of the future. I have come face to face with the actuality of my grieving; reality is met.

I am deposited at the shoreline, like a mere grain of sand. The leftovers of the wave return to the ocean. Back to the cycle of forming and crashing. Likewise, I return to the ocean – to the floating – back to the cycle.

Once lying on the shore, exhausted from the wave, the hardest act is to turn your back on the ocean and walk up the beach. Although you may find the strength to venture up the beach, to sit with the sand between your toes, you still have a view of the ocean, of the crashing waves. It is just at a greater distance.

Grief is forever present, but you learn to grow your life around the reality of it.

Francesca Hill

Image credit: Pia Poulsen via Flickr.

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