Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Inconsistency of Consistency ....

     If there's one thing you can count on while on this road through widowhood (and there's not much!) ..... it's how constantly inconsistent everything seems to be ....... especially, but not limited to, our emotions.
     I used to think I was crazy ..... early on the path.  I mean, after the first few months of black blurriness, I started to emerge once in a while.  And then I'd realize, at the end of a day, that that day had not been too bad.  If fact, I might have almost called it "good" if that word hadn't seemed so inappropriate!
     And then, wonder of wonders, the next day went by and it was almost "good".  Two days of almost "good"?  "Well," I'd think to myself, "I must be getting better!"
(ummmm ..... yes ..... like I had the flu or something ....... this was, remember, the "early days" on the path).

     And then I'd wake up the next day ....... and ...... WHAM!!!!  I'd be blindsided by a huge wave of grief that I never saw coming.  No reason.  No one to blame.  No finger to point.
It just hit.
And it hit hard.
And dropped me to my knees.

     And there I' be, soaking wet, coughing, choking on the salty water of grief, crying and wondering ..... "what the hell .....?   I thought I was doing better ........?"

     And that, my sisters on this path, is the one consistent thing I've found ...... you never know when the next wave will hit.

     Note that I didn't say "you never know IF the next wave will hit" ...... because it will
Sometimes we will be able to see the wave coming ..... we can expect it and watch it as it approaches, building in size as it gets closer and closer.  But on those occasions, when we know it's coming, we can prepare ourselves.  We can change our stance, planting our feet as firmly as we can in the shifting sand of the ocean.  We can bend our knees so that our strength is centered lower in our bodies and we can manage to stay upright as the wave crashes over us.  We might teeter a bit, but it's easier for us to keep our balance, shake off the water and stand back up.
     But when we're standing upright, unaware, looking back at the shore ...... dreaming of what was back on that shore ..... and we can't see that wave building and building and getting closer and closer ...... we are slammed to the bottom of the ocean floor when it hits.  And then we are drug out further with the pull of that wave.  
Yes, we kick at it, we struggle against it and we claw our way back up to the surface, our eyes stinging, our throat burning ...... but we do manage to stand back up.  It just takes a bit longer when we're hit unaware.

     I'm not saying that we should always be aware ..... always scanning the horizon for the next wave.  That's impossible.  
We can't do that.  We each have a life to live, we have responsibilities, we have others who need us.  We can't possibly be anticipating every wave.

    But we can give ourselves grace.  The grace to know, and accept, that these waves will hit and they will drag us down once in a while.  The grace to say ....."That's OK.   Just because I'm brought down by a wave does not mean that I am weak, or that I am crazy, or that I am not grieving well."
     These waves are normal ..... whatever that word now means.  They will come.  And we will fall.  
     But hopefully, they will start to come less often.  Hopefully there will be longer times of peaceful waters between the waves.
     And ..... hopefully ..... they won't always knock us down.  Shake us up, yes.  Upset the balance for a bit ..... yes.  But knock us flat?  Hopefully not.

Or at least ....... hopefully not as often.

So, if a wave should catch you unaware today, or next week ..... or even next year ..... please remember ...... to give yourself the precious gift of GRACE ...... and know, without a doubt, that you are "normal", you are not alone ...... and that the waters will become calm again.


  1. A vivid picture. So true. Thank-you.

  2. Astonding beautifully said. mjd

  3. Janine - I am really looking forward to meeting you. Thanks for the comment. Mie