Ocean of Grief

Grief is its own creature. I think it lives in the ocean. Maybe it has power over it or even is the ocean. At least from what I’ve experienced the metaphors that lie in the waves, the depths, the storms, the tides, the vastness and even the days of calm seem to mirror much of what I’ve heard in the stories of those who share their grief journey with me and in my own grief experiences. As I sit with someone sharing about having “one good day, two bad days, maybe three or four in a row” or suddenly having the onslaught of tears for what felt like “no reason at all,” I think—high tide, low tide. Full moon tide, new mood tide. Waves gently lapping at your toes one hour, then a sneaker wave smacking you into the sand at full throttle the next. El Nino one season, La Nina the next. Days you feel alone, no land in sight, as if the grieving will never end. Hours when the sun pushes finally away any lingering clouds and you rest in its warm embrace, loneliness abated—for now.

Ocean is ancient. It holds all the grief tears since creation. Perhaps that is where ocean’s power came from—the wisdom in learning to release, to accept, to feel, to mourn. To keep moving in rhythm with our grief. To dive deep below the surface and explore our losses in the most intimate heart space. To allow ourselves to surface and be tossed against the shore knowing storms pass. To risk diving again and again into relationships, leave behind ruts, seek love, speak our truth.

Many find being at the ocean a place of restoration, connection. Perhaps as the holder of the universal experience of grief, when one is at the ocean, the water and salt of our body is listening for the ancient wisdom…the wisdom that says “you will not drown, even when you slip beneath the surface. Stay with the journey. Let your salt-tears flow into ours. You will heal.”