Friday, September 26, 2008

Grief is like the Ocean

(I mentioned this “Grief is like the Ocean…” idea in a post earlier this month in relation to a One Tree Hill episode and now I am going to be talking about a Grey’s episode. WTF! I watch too much TV!)

“Grief is like the ocean; it’s deep and dark and bigger than all of us. And pain is like a thief in the night. Quiet. Persistent. Unfair. Diminished by time and faith and love.”

-someone on One Tree Hill

Grief really is like the ocean. Not only is it deep and dark and bigger than all of us, but it seems like it goes on forever. The waves can overtake you sometimes. You get tired of swimming through it sometimes. You have hope that you will reach the other side someday, even though you can’t see the horizon yet.

When grief is new, it swallows you whole. You get overtaken and are too weak to fight it. Your whole world closes in on you as you sink to depths of despair you never even imaged. But then your fight for survival kicks in and you have to struggle to break the surface again. Slowly you start to kick your way to the top to break the surface of life again. You start to laugh and smile. Little gasps of air. And then life returns to some sense of normalcy. You float along through the grief and it doesn't seem that bad anymore.

But once you have experienced grief, you are always in that ocean. It is always a part of who you are. Sometimes you don’t have to struggle to stay on the surface and you forget that you are even swimming- until a big wave sweeps over you again. It can be something small that reminds you of what you went through, what you’re missing, how you felt.

Last night that happened to me. I sat down to watch the season premier of Grey’s Anatomy and didn’t even make it through the first 2 minutes. It opens with Meredith talking about fairytales. How everyone wants that perfect ending. But in reality what you get is sometimes a nightmare. Then it cuts to Derrick in the hospital and they are fighting to save his life as Meredith watches in tears. Then it appears there is nothing more they can do and Meredith’s world falls apart- she’ll never get her happy ending.

I have been there. I can vividly remember that day, that moment. It is really surreal. In that moment the whole world gets blurry. Voices become muffled sounds. Your body collapses in on itself. You feel so utterly alone and completely helpless. And it all came back to me as I watched Derrick lying there (completely on the edge of my seat, tears in my eyes already).

But then she wakes up. This should have releived me. Derrick is ok. It was just a dream. But instead it turned out to be the wave that knocked me completely over again. She GOT to wake up. She didn’t have to live the nightmare. I lived it. I am still living the nightmare. I mean I might have already had my chance at “the one” and now it is all over for me. (Just as background for those of you who don’t know, the first guy I ever fell in love with died in a car wreck when we were in high school. Yeah, I don’t like to talk about it or mention it because A) it is an awkward thing to bring up, B) it is depressing, and C) it still hurts and I like to try to keep it in the past and stay positive and seem normal.)

So I had a mini meltdown last night on my kitchen floor. My dog thought I was crazy and didn’t know what to do, so he laid his head on my back. I NEVER cry. I try to always hold in my emotions, but this is the one thing that can bring me to my knees. I tried calling friends to talk me out of the stupid meltdown. After the 5th no answer I gave up.

I couldn't breathe. Sobs just escaping out of me. I just kept asking myself "what is wrong with me?" But I couldn't stop. And then I started to clean. Tears just streaming down my face as I scrubbed the kitchen counters and loaded the dishwasher. (Why do girls do this? Lots of girls I know clean when they are really stressed. It's like I lost my mind so I just end up doing the one thing I absolutely hate doing!)

Eventually someone did call me back and it helps so much just to not feel so alone. Just to have someone to talk to. And today is another day. I am trying to push it all to the very back compartment of my brain that I keep all that stuff locked up in. But please…don’t ask me if I saw the Grey’s season premiere last night! (Believe me I understand the enthusiasm…I was even going to watch it live! Commercials and all!) I will watch it tonight probably, but I just want to forget about those first 2 minutes for now!


Anonymous said...

I love you!

Tim said...

That is a great analogy about the ocean. I'm sorry this is a difficult time of grief for you. Just know that many friends are with you during this journey.

Anonymous said...


what's going on??? Why are you in such despair? You know you can always call me if you need to talk. You have to let all of your friends in. I hope you are doing better. Please give me a call when you get a chance.