They say it comes in “waves” this grief.
And ‘they’ seem to be correct in this, except for when I think of ‘waves’, I think of rolling hills of water, some bigger, some smaller…. Grief seems more like a tidal wave some days, a hot spring the next, and then a waterfall that appears out of nowhere. You find yourself in high moments staring down, quite uncertain how you got there or how long you’ll remain above the pit that surrounds the ground below you. And then there’s tidal waves where you start to think “hey, maybe I’m healing. I’m hurting but I’m moving forward, doing the ‘hard’, living again”… Only to find yourself crash down a moment later and be surrounded in this wave that once seemed stable, positive, perhaps even hopeful. And your not quite sure if you’re drowning and you find yourself upside down and sideways and there’s sand in places it never should be and you can’t see which way is up and you just keep spinning and spinning in this mess of churning sand and water and seaweed.
And all you can think in the oxygen strained moments are “what the heck just happened!?! I thought I was doing now Ok, making progress…finding a way… And now, I drowning and I don’t even know if I gonna make it out of this… What happened?!?!”
And somehow, you keep struggling- sometimes without air in your lungs and the pain Sears through you and your lungs beg you to just open your mouth and let the water flood you and let it all go. All the pain. All the struggle. All the horrendous memories. All the guilt and doubt and “should’ve’s” and “could’ve’s” and “if only’s”. And sometimes the thought of opening your mouth and letting it all go… it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, to be honest.
But we can’t be honest. We can’t speak of this… Not in the world “out there”. You get a wide eyes and people give you phone numbers for suicide prevention lines and tell you to take meds and see a counselor (not saying all these are bad…) but you get overwhelmed in the influx of “help” that only reinforces these thoughts deep within us that we aren’t good enough, that this is too hard, and that we are, indeed failing.
And all I wonder in these moments is where is the actual help I so long for and need? The listening ear, the friend who picks up my slack without complaint, the anonymous card that says “we’re praying for you”, the phone call ‘just to check in’, the shopping trip when you need a break from the daily fight, the dinner dropped on your doorstep, they people who stick by you and tell you to OK your still grieving and tel you that one day the swirling sand and water will subside, bad that they will be there when it does. They are the ones who don’t give up on you, who don’t say you’re a “lost cause”. These rare ones, they are “the real deal”.
Yet so often these gems aren’t there. Anniversaries forgotten, birthdays awkwardly silent. Mail filled only with bills and reminders of the daily struggles that you just can’t seem to get ahead of. Dinners more often consisting more often of chicken nuggets than of casseroles.
And you go through the deep waters, these “waves”, feeling so alone. Knowing God is there, and yet feeling as if He is the only one there. You scold yourself, you tell yourself “He should be enough for me”, yet the daily sand and struggles and paining lungs and swirling darkness remind you that though He assures us He will be with us, that He will help us survive this, that we need people. People to help us through this. People that He created for us to use as boueys, as rocks to hold on to while we try to grasp for direction and light and air.
He gives us people as a gift.
So, dear mama, here is the hard part. Yes, another hard (I know…)
Ask them. Ask them for help. Tell them your struggle. Reach for them when you’re going over the waterfall, Fighting through the waves, falling aimlessly down from the water spout.
These people, they love you, they desire to help, but they don’t know how. They can’t understand. They are waiting, and ready to help- but We must ask.
Sometimes, God is there in the people that He surrounds us with. And sometimes we have to show that we are broken, rather, let ourselves be broken, so that He can help us through them.
So when the waves come, let them, and then let someone hold you while you fall all the way back down. Let them break your fall, cushion your crash, and be there when you open your eyes again.