Child loss and grief is like the waves in the ocean. There are days when you are standing at the edge and watching the water ebb and flow. You are noticing the waves and how they crash on the beach. You are aware of the constant presence of the water and the tides. But you can still carry on with your day always noticing in the background the waves at they get closer and closer to you.
Then one day you are in the waves and you are trying desperately to get to the shore and the waves keep crashing over you and you can’t quite make it back to the shore. That is how I feel in the month of November. The waves are crashing over my head. I am trying to surf the wave, but it keeps pulling me under. At the beach there are lifeguards to warn you when to come back in and to swim out to pull you in when you get caught in a rip tide. As you feel yourself going under in the waves of grief, reach out for help. Allow those of us further along on this journey to throw you a life ring and pull you along until you learn to navigate the waters and surf the waves. You don’t have to be strong and you don’t have to do it alone.
Sometimes I am the lifeguard and sometimes I am the one needing to be rescued. And all of this is perfectly fine. There are times I feel like I am drowning in the waves of grief. I have those people I know I can call or text and they will sit with me or cry with me, or let me scream and be there to listen. There are times I am the lifeguard throwing a life raft and being the one to listen to another mother lost in the sea of grief.
As the holidays are approaching and you feel like you can’t get out of the waves. Be kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. You don’t have to do anything you are not ready to do. If you are not up to hosting a big dinner or event, don’t. If you are heading to a Holiday gathering and aren’t sure if you are up to it give yourself an out. Have a ride available and a reason to leave when you’ve had enough. Choose the things you want to do and feel like you can do, and always know you can change your mind. There are no rules and there is no rulebook when it comes to grief. We each have our own journey and our own own unique circumstances. It takes a bit of practice and some trial and error. If you choose to do it this year and it doesn’t feel right, you don’t have to do it again next year. Keep the traditions and things that feel right and try something different if you want to. There is no right or wrong way to do things. The choice is totally yours.