I can not see the ocean without thinking of Brad. He proposed to me on the beach. We got married and moved a few days later to our home in Florida. Not right on the beach, but close enough that when I needed to see the ocean I wasn’t further than about 15 miles away. We spent our first two years of marriage loving being near the ocean. Our honeymoon was on the beach. We made a million happy memories being on the beach and looking out into that vast ocean.
Our family trip to Hawaii this winter was very bittersweet – for lots of reasons. Heading off to a beautiful beach with my precious girls and without their daddy was one of those reasons. Knowing we were going somewhere Brad had loved visiting, and had so badly wanted to take us someday was difficult. We ended up having a great trip. And I know Brad was with us the whole time. But being near the ocean always makes miss him terribly.
I remember during this trip looking out on those beautiful waves and thinking that they reminded me a little of how grieving the loss of my sweet husband feels sometimes.
A huge swell came in while we were there and we went out to the North Shore to watch the wonder of the waves. It was amazing to watch them. A photo just does not do them justice. They were the biggest waves I had ever seen. The red flags were placed right up by the sidewalk. The guards didn’t even want you to touch the sand, let alone the water. I watched those waves roll up a few crazy surfers who did not heed the signs. One was trying to get out of the water. He was only a few feet from the shore – maybe 5-10 feet at the most. He was trying to swim out, swimming with all his might and was literally not moving at all. Those waves were so big they broke a few times on the way in. They broke again right where water met sand and were just pounding this poor surfer right into the ground. The water swirled around ferociously after the break and by the time he got his footing another wave was crashing on his head.
I remember thinking that I know what that feels like.
My grief is somewhat like the waves. There are times went I get rolled up by one of those huge waves and smashed right into the sand. There are also times when it’s calmer. When it’s just a gentle rolling and while I’m still feeling it, it’s not forcing me under and sucking the life out of me.
Everyone always says that time heals. I don’t know that I agree with that completely. Time has definitely helped. I don’t know that I would say that it heals. With the passage of time those huge waves seem less frequent. But they still come. The smaller waves are more common now. And that is a good thing. My grief seems to ebb and flow like the tides do. And it’s constant. It changes in intensity. And I’m learning to be a better swimmer; but it is constant. It’s always there, swirling underneath even on the calm days.
When I do get hit by a North Shore wave, I know that I’m not swimming out of it alone. There are so many tender mercies I have been blessed with. They are kindof like life jackets that help me keep my head above water. The nearness of my sweet husband is the strongest of those. Sometimes he is so close that I look around, sure I will see. Although seeing would be good; I’ll take being lifted up out of those huge waves and being placed in softer seas. That’s what he does for me. Still.