It’s funny how the same word can bring peace in one setting, yet anxiety in another.
My family recently had a chance to stay near the ocean during spring break. My favorite day of vacation is my beach day with my daughter. Now, neither of likes to swim, nor do we tan. We basically burn and peel, or get nothing because of the high-octane SPF we use. But, we both enjoy being together amidst the sights and sounds of the ocean.
When I am at the beach,a sense of calm fills me as I gaze out at the line where sky meets water and the foaming waves crash against jagged rocks near the shoreline. The gentle rhythm of the waves brings me a sense of peace. In that moment, possibilities seem as endless as the ocean and I feel wrapped in the warmth of hope in the future.
But to move toward the future, I know that some things must be left behind. For instance, I knew that this could be the last spring vacation the three of us took together. My daughter heads off to college in the fall -how did that happen? I made a concerted effort to be in the moment with my daughter-no phones, no email, and no distractions(more so on her end). It just so happened that our room had awful Wi-Fi reception. God even works in high-tech wondrous ways.
We spent time just chatting while we sat on the sand. We walked along the shore looking for shells, as we have done every year since she could walk. Except this year I found myself just looking at her more, like etching that time in my memories. So much so, she kept asking me if she had something on her face!
I foolishly attempted to leave my grief behind. Apparently grief did not get the memo. The first night I was so tired and stayed behind while my daughter and husband walked to view the sunset. I sat down, thought I should check in with my mom, and a tidal wave of sadness washed over me. The emptiness in my heart could not be ignored. Another time, I spotted someone walking a Lab on the beach and I blinked back tears. Not that Henry would ever dare walk so close to the ocean-he never liked swimming! I know a Lab who doesn’t like water, doesn’t seem possible. 🙂
I attempted to ignore the increased pain while on vacation. I pushed through the pain during the day-telling myself I’ll have plenty of time to be miserable at home. But at night and first thing in the morning, waves of pain and burning remind me they cannot be buried in the sand and left on the beach.
On the last day of vacation, my daughter and I took a bonus beach day. She wanted to do some sketches and I really wanted to write. I have had such a creative block. Last fall, I had begun working on another manuscript but when my mom fell ill, I did not want to focus on anything else but being with her. When she passed away, it seemed my brain and my heart just could not handle anything else.
At least I thought my brain could not. My grief counselor gave me the advice to just start writing in a journal. I should just write about anything on my mind, any feelings of grief, anger, or confusion. She had advised me to actually not write anything relating to the manuscript at first. I am a people pleaser so I started writing(I know you saw that coming). Most of it consisted of random emotions and thoughts, but they were written random emotions and thoughts! I don’t always have it in me to do it every day yet, but it’s a start.
Since my Godfather passed away at the beginning or 2014, it has been wave after wave of sadness leaving no time to catch my breath. I am praying for low tide so I can attempt to savor these last months with my daughter at home; and allow myself the space and time to heal.
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