Saturday, January 3, 2015

Navigating the Sea of Sorrow

Memories wash over like waves. Some swirl around my feet, warm and pleasantly tickling from toes to ankle. Others pull me gently into deeper water before I realize what is happening. The swells bump me, gently lift me and set me down again, so I may easily replant my feet on terra firma. However, some waves of memory brutally drag me farther out into the deep. I feel the sand shift beneath my feet, threatening to pull me under. These waves often knock me over, pull my feet out from under me, and generate a sense of panic within. I feel myself tumbling over and over, colder, deeper. I must fight if I’m to regain my footing and find my way to the shore, but sometimes returning seems like too much work. At those moments the rough surf of grief seduces with its siren’s song humming, “Give in, give up, drown in the power of this sorrow.” I never know when or exactly how the tide of memory and grief will roll in.
Brandon scuba diving in the Caribbean - July 2010
Yet no matter when or how high tide arrives, I do regain my footing. I do find my way back to shore after being pulled far out into the Sea of Sorrow. I am still standing. WE – this family – are still standing. And we will continue to regain our footing no matter how brutal or seductive the waves, because none of us fights this surf alone. There may be times when one or another of us feels as if we’re facing the Sea of Sorrow alone. Perhaps there are times when one or another prefers to swim this sea in solitude. Still, one has only to call out and the others will quickly surround and guide her or him back to shore. I love my family. Each member is so unique and special, which is why the absence of Brandon has profoundly and forever affected the tides of our lives.

Added January 4th about 20 hours after posting my thoughts above. Speaking is Hazel Grace Lancaster, the narrator of the book The Fault in Our Stars. In this quote she shares feelings after the death of her boyfriend Gus.
"When you go into the ER, one of the first things they ask you to do is to rate your pain on a scale of one to ten… I called it a nine because I was saving my ten. And here it was, the great and terrible ten, slamming me again and again as I lay still and alone in my bed staring at the ceiling, the waves tossing me against the rocks then pulling me back out to sea so they could launch me again into the jagged face of the cliff, leaving me floating face up on the water, undrowned."

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