When grief is an ocean

To the woman sobbing on the drive home after her prenatal appointment (one where she was supposed to hear a heartbeat, but didn’t):

I know how much it hurts.

I know the pain feels like an ocean, vast and deep. You are swimming around, trying to get your bearings, but salt water is stinging your eyes and going up your nose. You can’t see, can’t draw breath, can’t understand anything in these murky waters.

It may feel like you are alone, but you’re not. Know deep in your bones that you are not alone here.

Take as much time as you need to swim through this ocean of grief. See what there is to discover in its icy depths. Explore the coral and shells, feel the cool sand at the bottom.

One day you will resurface. You will make it to shore and breathe deeply from the clean ocean air. Notice there is still beauty to be found in this land. Let yourself lay down in the soft sand, let the sun kiss your skin. Rest awhile.

Turn your face heavenward and pray, if you can. Pray for the children you have carried in your body, and the ones you hope to carry in your arms one day.

Know that these tidal waves of sorrow will not last forever, but that the shoreline may always feel close.

Try to trust the unfolding of life as surely as you trust the tide coming in from sea. Watch how it moves in and out, in and out—never stagnant, always dynamic. Just like you.

Do you see the pearls on the ocean floor? See how they are being refined by the abrasive sand. Look at how luminescent and lovely they are—made somehow more precious by what they have lost. Pain may always be part of their story, but it doesn’t have the final say. Look at how they shine, even in the depths of the sea.

[This piece was originally published here.]

3 responses to “When grief is an ocean”

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