The Ebb and Flow of Grief

This past week has been a constant struggle with the overwhelming feeling of grief. In many ways it has been very similar to the week a year ago after the passing of Yolanda. Some moments the pain and despair have been crushing. Other moments have felt as if this plane is on autopilot going through the daily rituals without any purpose other than they need to be done. There have also been those moments of happy reflection, fantastic memories, small memories but with so much meaning. Most of all there has been the constant reminder that the clock is still ticking, time is advancing and the world around us continues marching to the silent drum beat.

This week has also enabled me to reflect on the last family holiday we had spent together at the coast. Some very generous people that Yolanda had come to know over the years offered us the use of their holiday home just outside of George, South Africa. Tergniet was ideally situated between George and Mosselbay.

Yolanda and I took the girls to the beach near Groot Brak. Not being used to the crashing waves we decided to look for other options. We saw people enjoying the river flowing into the ocean. This river became our favorite spot during that short break. The river kept changing its character depending on the ebb and flow of the ocean into which it deposited itself.

Sometimes it would be flowing fast as the tide was out, allowing the river to speedily flow into the ocean. These were the times to catch the fast flowing current and navigate around obstacles in the river. Other times it would become a little swollen and moving slowly as it attempted to empty itself into the incoming tide. These would be good times for lazily floating on the river.

This was a good family get away at the end of 2015. Little did we know that the time spent on the river was just illustrating what the next two years would be for us. I guess one could just say that this is the natural ebb and flow of life. For me, having walked this path of catastrophic loss, it however has a deeper meaning. Grief has played a big part of our lives even before she passed away. Some days the tide would be pushing in and we would feel slowed down. Trying to get our heads around what was taking place to Yolanda and how this was impacting on our family. Other days the tide would be out and we would be racing towards the ocean trying to avoid the obstacles in our path.

However no matter the flow rate of the river it got to empty itself into the ocean. No longer a river but now one with the mighty ocean.

Life is like the river. Sometimes swollen and flowing slowly towards the ocean and other days it is rushing along trying to avoid all obstacles.