WAVES


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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!

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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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23 thoughts on “WAVES

  1. Kathleen,
    With tears in my eyes, I read your beautiful post, like you emptied your heart out onto the page. I felt every word of it, and wish I could reach through this screen and wrap my arms around you.
    This year has been so full of loss and change for you, I am praying that you find a season of healing transformation and peace lay ahead.
    If grief and loss can change us, and if God uses everything for His glory, then it is my hope that He shows you the good fruits that come from such a devastating time in your life.
    You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

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  2. Waves of grief certainly do come on fast so I know what you mean about waves being both good and bad. Enjoy your sweet time with your daughter! That is the best way to heal!

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  3. Lovely post, Kathleen. I’m sorry for your losses, but you will go to the beach again with your daughter, of this I’m sure. When my sister was dying of breast cancer last year, I wrote a flash fiction story of her dying in their rented beach house after watching one last sunset. It helped me a lot. Here’s a hug for you. Sarah

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    • Sarah, thank you so much for visiting and your compliment. I so appreciate you sharing how you wrote the story of her at the beach and one last sunset. What a wonderful way to express your love for her, your last cherished memories together, and to help you through some of your grief. You have inspired me, Sarah. I am sending a hug in return.

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  4. Dear Kathleen,
    I want to tell you that you, your daughter, and your husband may be at the beach together again. It is good to be able to grief and to write and share with others.

    It will not be the same, but each time is different. Different sands and different waters, different dates, but ahh, the same love and affection for each other.

    Love you.

    Joan

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    • Joan, that is such a lovely thought about the different sands..yet same love an affection. Your words truly feel like a warm hug 🙂 Thank you so much. Love you right back!

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  5. Being Woven says:

    Sweet Kathleen, I lived near the Pacific Ocean a lot of my earlier life, loving it, sitting and writing poetry back when I was old enough to drive there by myself. I loved the ebb and flow of God’s bigger than what I could imagine this body of water to be. I loved the sound of the waves rolling and beating upon the shore. I have so many memories of being on ocean’s edge. When I was home in San Diego in the fall with one of my sisters to see the other sister, we went to the ocean and I felt like I could collapse in it for all the grief of losing Mama. Yet, I knew God’s arms were right there to catch me and keep my head above water. I felt a peace in the hard pocket of the ocean. He is good. Will be praying for you.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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    • Linda, thank you for sharing your wonderful memories of the ocean. It is interesting that we both emptied some of our grief for our mothers in the waves of the ocean. I truly feel comforted by and closer to God when I am on the beach. I so appreciate your prayers and you are in mine.

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  6. I can’t add a thing to this beautiful post except that you wrote it so well. Grief hits in waves–sometimes when you least expect it. let your self grieve, Kathleen. It is one of the ways you show your love for your mother. And dog too!

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    • Carol, thank you for the compliment. That means a lot to me. Thank you for reminding me that grief and love can be so intertwined. That thought definitely gives me another way to view riding that wave.

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  7. Kathy,
    This may seem like a silly idea, and yes it is right off the top of my head. Why not find a tide schedule (online) and make a goal to savor each and every waking moment of low tide? Write through the pain or whatever else works during high tide. Too simplistic? Maybe this will provide you a framework you can handle until you can substitute it with one you like better. I realize you meant this figuratively, but think concrete first. Figurative can come later. Best of luck to you! You’ll make it! I believe it.

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    • Linda, that is a great idea! I am going to look up the schedules. Simple is usually the best way to start, for me anyway 🙂 Thank you for being a wonderful friend.

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  8. I’m so sorry you are walking through grief. It’s not fun. Praying you’ll feel God’s loving arms around you to hold you up through the tough times. Focus on HIM! I find it helps so much. And the ocean is always a good place to go for some “thinking” time. I love the ocean!

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    • Nancy, thank you so much for visiting. I so appreciate your prayers. I agree with you. Being in nature (especially the ocean) is one of the perfect settings to reset my focus on HIM.

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