The holidays are just about over…back to work and regular routine and schedules in just a few days. Call me crazy, but I’m happy to get back to it all. I don’t like the holidays. There. I said it. This year, the holidays were a Let’s Just Get Through These Two Weeks kind of thing. Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful for no alarm clock, Netflix and pots of coffee on demand, but there’s just too much time to think, too much time for my mind to wander. Being alone with my thoughts isn’t always peaceful.
On December 25th, Merry Christmas messages came through my phone all day. On January 1st I woke up to a dozen Happy New Year messages. I quickly scrolled through each one and thought, Weird, my brother never messaged…And just as quickly as that thought entered my brain, it left and what followed was a sharp pain, heartbreak. It’s these thoughts that send me back to the very moment it happened. It’s these thoughts that send me right back to day one, page one of this new story. These thoughts happen more often than I’ve ever cared to share. Sharing them makes them real. Sometimes real is just too hard. Sometimes real is too much for the people around you. So you stay quiet. Living in your head can be a lonely existence sometimes. But sometimes there doesn’t seem to be a better alternative.
I read about grief. I talk about grief. I live with grief. It hasn’t gotten easier. It hasn’t changed. It simply becomes something you manage a little different, sometimes a little better, with each day. Of everything I’ve read and listened to, the metaphor that has always spoken to me is that grief is like a wave. It comes crashing, unexpected at first, you’re drowning. With time, you can see those waves coming. You learn to float. You look for anything you can to hold onto to stay afloat – that one thing that will bring serenity back to your existence. And then, somehow, with time I assume, you’re strong enough to swim. You come out the other side.
I haven’t learned to see the waves coming yet. It hasn’t been long enough I suppose. I thought I had, turns out I was wrong. What I am learning though is that you can’t stop the waves from coming. Trust me. I’ve tried. But you can learn to move with them.
I don’t speak as someone who has this figured out. I speak as someone who’s been hit by these waves so many times that I’ve been forced to make the choice between drowning or moving with them. For me, for now, moving with them is mindless. It’s floating. I’m okay with that. Eventually I’ll learn to swim.
For now, I’ll float.