The Ocean

“Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing.  Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming.  All we can do is learn to swim.”  -Vicki Harrison

One year ago today, I was looking at the ocean.

We were in Hawaii, celebrating the marriage of my uncles.  I was 10 weeks pregnant with Nelle.  I announced upon our arrival to our family present that we were having a baby girl.  In the morning, discombobulated by the time zone change, we walked along the beach and watched the sun rise over the ocean.  Later that day, I swam in the ocean for the first time, maternity suit flowing around my swelling abdomen.

A year ago, I never could have imagined that I would be here right now.  I would have thought that I would be holding a five-month-old baby.  I never thought that the vacation of our dreams would now be a reminder of where I was then, and where I am now.  I can’t escape it.  Every photo bears the signs of my pregnancy, hidden under the clothes I carefully chose.

I read an article recently about the misconceptions of grieving in western culture.  One expectation was: the grieving need about a year to heal.  Nelle was born on September 4, so here I am, not even 10 months past that first staggering loss.  The article also said: People say year two is harder than year one. There is the shock, end of life arrangements and other business matters that often consume the first year and the grieving do not have the time actually to sit back and take the time to grieve.  While pregnancy loss is very different in the “business matters” sense, I am hitting those “memories” entering of “where I was a year ago” that are not constantly invading my space.

A year ago,  I was looking at the ocean.  Now I am learning to stay afloat in the ocean of grief.

Grief is like the rain.  Soft.  Hard.  Warm.  Cold.  Sometimes torrential and unrelenting.  Sometimes so furious that we cannot see through the downpour.  Sometimes it brings hail.  Pelting, it causes permanent indentations in metal.  We stay inside and watch the damaging shards of ice.

Sometimes it turns to snow, icy and unforgiving.

Sometimes it is light and warm, a gentle reminder that it is necessary to grow.

A little fall of rain
Can hardly hurt me now
…And rain will make the flowers grow.
-From Les Miserables