Grief comes in waves, they say.
We accept this as a mercy,
sweet relief from the idea of
All Grief, All the Time.
The thing about waves, though—
they aren’t consistent.
Sometimes they are long, shallow rollers,
not unpleasant to move through at all.
The dips and rises almost make you feel
more alive for the moment.
A part of something vast, something majestic.
There may be a weird self-satisfaction
in finding you are still affected by loss,
as if somehow that validates the ocean of love
you surely must have carried in your heart.
But then the big waves move in again
pulled over by the moon or some dark creeping undercurrent
from the other side of the world,
just when you are feeling safe and strong,
overconfident in your swimming skills.
These are the storm wave that crash down hard, relentless in rows,
holding you under, tumbled with the rocks for three minutes at a time,
(which in grief-hours, is at least five days straight.)
The gasping, the panic, the bewildered lack of breath.
You are shocked less by the wave, but the fact that you didn’t see it coming.
And the brief, bottomless understanding that it will come again.