It was a snowy Sunday morning – slow and peaceful. Capt. Jack, No Sparrows and I are both stationed on the multi-use table in our home: he’s watching bird tv out the bay window and I’m happily planted with my calculator and two tax prep organizers, mine and dad’s. I am feeling great about getting all of the tax stuff to my CPA before February’s end!
As I cruise through my form’s queries, checking boxes and filling in figures, the next line is Date of Death.
Boom! My eyes erupt with tears. Once again, that sneaky bugger grief has surprised me with an unannounced heart ripping. Thank you very much.
Did I mention that I was working on my tax organizer, not dad’s? His organizer was next in the queue. The organizer for his last tax return, ever. Another part of his life was closing.
You never know when a grief sneaker wave will strike. Unlike the beachside rule to always face the ocean and never turn your back on it to avoid being pulled under, there is no version of this for grief.
Are we doomed, then, to always hold grief in the forefront of our awareness, keeping watch for its next surprise attack? To walk around warily, wondering when we’ll get caught in its clutches again? Is that the secret to keeping us from being broadsided and sucked under from out of the blue?
I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s any preparation to avert one of grief’s heart ripping sneaker waves. And yet, what if seeing Date of Death on my form was grief’s warning of what I soon would feel? Maybe there was a wee bit of grace being offered in that moment after all.
My advice when you get rolled over by one of these waves? Just let it take hold of you. Cry the tears. Let go the scream. Write the blog. Breathe. Roll around in its wake.
I know there will be more sneaker waves as I swim in this ocean of grief, doing “lasts” and experiencing “firsts”: birthdays, holidays, vacations, dinners…all without him.