I cannot explain enough how I much I didn’t understand about grief until I lost my daughter. I thought I understood it. I knew the definition. I could use the word in a sentence. I could spell it correctly and identify the part of speech. Before she died, grief was the sound of Charlie Brown’s frustration or another word for mourning. Before my little girl left me forever, I had no idea what grief was. Now I do.
Sorry Charlie, but right now I can’t see any good in my grief. And grief is not just another word for mourning. Mourning is something you do. Grief is something you live with. One night in mid-November, a man looked me in the eye and told me that my daughter was dead. That moment, those words echo through my head every day. The reality of her death is clearer every day. Grief exists in every second of my life. It is not something I do or even something I feel. I live it. It is everywhere. I am treading water in the middle of the ocean.
It is expansive.
It is powerful.
It is forceful.
It can appear calm, but be teeming below the surface.
It can be overwhelming, yet you fight to survive.
It can be terrifying, but you can’t turn your back on it.
It is humbling.
It is isolating.
It is unpredictable.
It can make you disappear.
It can make you surrender.
It can make you scream in vain for sleep, for rest, for peace.
It takes everything you’ve got to survive every single day.
It forces you to fight for breath.
It makes you doubt your thoughts and your senses.
You can only tread water in the middle of the ocean for so long.
When is the rescue boat coming?