The grief hits me in waves. Sometimes it’s just a small wave that I can ride out, shedding some tears and taking time to center in my breathing before carrying on with my day. But then out of nowhere, the next wave can be a giant, fierce surf that swamps me, knocks me off my feet… like the raging surf at Ha’ena Beach in Kauai on the last day of our honeymoon.

We were just walking in the sand, letting the surf roll around our knees. And then a really big wave rolled in and knocked me down. I fell in the sand, laughing, water rushing over me. We started tossing our bodies into the surf, letting it knock us down. It was a perfect day and we were so happy.

But Mike got in too deep, and the tide started pulling him away from me. Frightened, I called to him to come back, waving my arms in case he couldn’t hear my voice over the roar of the surf. He kept moving further and further out to sea. I saw a man running across the beach, heading toward Mike, seconds before I heard the first cry of “Help!” That sound, my beloved calling for help, froze my heart. I was shaking with fear as I watched the man swim out to Mike, two lifeguards only seconds behind him.

Mike was saved that day —  a little battered by the surf, his legs scratched up from the reef, exhausted and embarrassed.  (He made me promise not to tell anyone what had happened, but he’s hardly in a position to object now.) As he rested on the sand, catching his breath, the normal color coming back to his skin, I started to cry… the tears of relief that come when the crisis is over.

Lying in bed that night, our last night at the timeshare on Kauai, I kept hearing those cries for help in my mind. I had to hold him close for a long time to reassure myself that everything was OK.

Sometimes I hear it now, my husband calling for help over the roar of the surf that threatens to drown… and now there is no comfort, no reassurance for me, and I’m the one in danger of being pulled under.


~ by hourbeforedawn on April 9, 2010.

4 Responses to “Waves”

  1. Hi. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. I just stumbled on your blog through a common tag: grief. I know it’s not the same by any means, but I lost my son a month ago and I understand what it means to be sad. I just hope you know you’re not alone and thanks for sharing because it helps me to know that I am not alone, also. I don’t have any encouraging words or anything, just thanks.

  2. Lira – know that when those waves of grief hit you, you are not alone. I want to be that lifeguard for you, watching to see if you need help. I’m too far away for daily help but I know other lifeguards are all over your life, ready to jump in after you. My hope for you is that you continue to get really good at surfing – standing proud and beloved, no matter how high the waves.

  3. Lira, even if you can’t see all of us…you have many lifeguards watching out for you, and we are here to help you if you start to get pulled under.

  4. Very well put, Kelly. I wholeheartedly agree ((((((LiraMay)))))

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