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Loss & Grief

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

We all experience grief. Whether it be the loss of a family pet or the loss of a human loved one, grief is inevitable in life. It's hard. Sometimes the hardest part is dealing with all those moments when it feels like too much. But this pain can be contextualized and seen for what it is. I find that a good analogy is a shipwreck.

When your ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning. There is wreckage everywhere. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, but is no more. All you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating, trying to keep their head above water. For a while, all you can do is float. Float and stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while - maybe weeks or maybe months - you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash over you and wipe you out. But in between the waves you'll find that you can breathe, and you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life and possibly even peace.

Somewhere down the line - it’s different for everybody - you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Then eventually only 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming; an anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas. You can see it coming, for the most part, and you prepare yourself. When it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out on the other side. Soaking wet, shivering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’re okay.

The waves never stop coming, and eventually somehow you don’t really want them to. You will survive this wave, and the next. You'll know other waves will come. And you’ll survive those too.


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