Waves of Grief

When Lydia first died someone had shared with me there are these waves.  Waves of grief.

I was told the closeness of the waves would eventually widen and the height of them would lessen.  She also told me the waves would hit when I least expected.  No trigger.  No warning.  It most likely wouldn’t be from a picture or a song – it would just happen.

She also said that unlike waves you wouldn’t see them coming.  It may be that I just wake up and feel awful. I believed her – I mean who am I to say what would happen when this was my first grief ride.  And so I went about my days believing but hoping she was wrong.

The first weeks after she died I talked about how Lydia was with God.  I was ok.  I wasn’t sobbing.

I said she was perfect & whole and I was blessed to have been her mother.  And I believed it and I still do.  But then….then, I was able to say it without tears.  Truly numb.  To all of it.

When she first passed and I spouted this off to another mom who had lost her child years ago I remember something.   It was the look on her face.  She smiled and nodded her head and I knew right then.  I knew that she was patronizing me (not in a bad way) but she knew that eventually this feeling of brightness and light would disappear.  She knew my dark days would come.

Eventually it became real.  My daughter was gone.  Forever.  No take backs, no re-dos – she was gone.  And it hurts.  Like hell.   And I cry like a baby.

And then there were better days and I was thankful.  I felt relief when the wave would pass and I could breathe and smile and talk without crying.  I was relieved when I could take my kids to school without hanging my head low hoping not to speak to anyone.  I felt like myself again and not so angry, upset and sad – so horribly sad.

And the person who I talked to in the beginning was right – the waves of grief, of such sadness started to lessen.  The waves come crashing less than they did before.

It is a strange feeling.  To know a wave of grief is coming but you have no idea when. It is almost scary because you hate feeling that awful and you so don’t want it to hit again but it does.

This week was one of those weeks.  A wave hit..and hard.  There was no particular trigger, nothing that pushed me into missing her, I just did.  Now don’t think I don’t miss her everyday – the waves of grief – they just bring it all to the surface.  No hiding the pain under a smile, that’s for sure.

So, when the unannounced wave hit I found it hard to get up.  Hard to concentrate.  Hard to focus and hard not to cry by even thinking about her.  I avoided eye contact, I avoided conversations and I just sat in my own puddle left over from the crashing wave.  And that was my week.

And today, I woke up and I felt better.  Not great, but better.  I made it through the children’s mass without tears, heck the entire morning without crying.  I was ok.  And that was a victory for me.

I knew…the wave had passed.  I knew that I had buckled down under the crash and worked through it and it was done.  But I also know and have anxiety for the when the next one arrives.  But, I can’t focus on that.  I have to focus on how I came out of it.  How I still greatly miss her but I won’t cry when I think about it.  Funny, how it feels like I just came out of a battle.

Maybe it was those that recognized the pain this week that helped.  The hugs they gave.  The texts they sent.  All of them you could tell trying desperately to help me.  But there is no helping someone when the wave crashes. There are no solutions. There are no fixes.  Because there are no do-overs when someone dies.  It is final.

But they just rode it out with me and listened.  Being there even when they could see I wanted to run as fast I could away from them and everything else.  It was as if they grabbed onto me and just smiled.  Telling me they were there – no matter what even when they knew I wanted to be by myself.  They knew what I needed more than I did.

I hate the waves.  They hurt.  I dread them and I pray every day that the time in between them becomes longer and through each one I’m stronger. I pray for strength every day in fact. But, I’ve recognized that as part of the healing journey these waves are necessary.  As part of missing someone that you loved beyond what words can describe this is the pain I will feel.

I’m glad that since Lydia died I’ve had the right people at the right time.  The ones that have been there and are here.  They were placed at each point or all of it for a reason.

I’m thankful as we walk in the darkness together towards days that are lighter.  That is real.  And that is love.

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark than walk alone in the light.”


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