Thursday, January 8, 2009

Like the Tide, It Still Flows

I have always heard circumstances compared to 'the time and the tide' in that, it is inevitable and constant. There is no escape from either. These past few months, I have had to add grief to that list. It is expected as you know it is coming and unavoidable, but somehow it still manages to sneak up on you.

My mother passed on October 9th of this past year. It will be three months tomorrow. For years, I had imagined what it would feel like to loose her. Her health had been dramatically declining for some time now and we knew that she wouldn't last forever. We weren't given a time line such as those suffering from diseases are given. There was never a, "she's only got a few months left" conversation. It was always, "You have to stop trying to save her, Mrs. Davis. She's a product of years of bad decisions." Once I finally accepted it, life was a bit simpler. I knew she was going to be gone and it wouldn't be my fault, but I hadn't prepared myself for the grief.

Much like the time, it is always there. It lingers just below the surface and rears it's heartache at the most inopportune times. On occasion, I use it to measure the days, months and eventually I will measure the years since she's been gone. It will not stop to pay it's respect. No, this grief keeps on going. It ticks away much like Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart. It tolls at me as I try to sleep, it gnaws at me while I sit in church, it uses it's partner, guilt, to eat away at so many happy moments. It will not quiet when I beg.

This grief has unimaginable depth. There is no bottom in this sea I float in. It will drown me if I let it. But I refuse. I paddle, just at the surface. Fighting with all I have to force it away, to keep it's tentacles from reaching my legs and pulling me under. I fight and will continue to fight for my family now. My children, my husband, my grandmother. They need me. I am their strength in all this. I cannot succumb to the grief.

Just when the times are good and I let my guard down, it rolls in. It is like the tide. I find myself building my castle in the sand, standing on my own independence just as it starts coming closer. I can measure it in each wave. I can see it creeping up. Closer and closer it comes. Each foamy wave creeping closer to my castle, forcing it's walls to weaken. I build my walls back as quickly as it eats away at them. Refusing to give in. Refusing to let this tide of grief take me with it. Eventually, my loss is inevitable. I recognize it in the grains of sand left on me as each wave retreats. I know it has left it's mark and my resistance is futile. Still refusing to give up, I retreat. I run to the dunes. My safety. My assurance that only on rare occasions will this tide reach me here. I am safe.

Until the next day.