Grief Like an Ocean: Weathering the Storm

I first saw this quote, comparing grief to an ocean, at N. N. Light‘s blog back in June.

GriefOcean-800x598I love this quote. I can’t think of a more apt analogy for grief than an ocean.

Grief begins with a shock akin to an earthquake of epic proportions, followed by a tsunami of emotions: disbelief, denial or anger or guilt, and above all an overwhelming sadness that engulfs your whole being. It takes a while for the tsunami to recede, leaving you feeling adrift in a turbulent ocean.

Lady and sea wavesAfter a while, the turbulence decreases and there are periods of smooth sailing, but like the ocean, grief is seemingly endless and unpredictable. There will be squalls during which we experience what the professionals call a STUG: a short, temporary upsurge of grief. And sometimes there are storms of emotion. These usually occur at some pivotal moment: a holiday, a birthday, an anniversary, when thoughts of the lost loved one are impossible to deny or keep at bay.

View of storm seascapeAnd then the ocean smooths out again and we go  back to living moment to moment, waiting for… we know not what. Does grief ever end? Not really, though the storms and squalls diminish over time until the loved one becomes a cherished memory rather than an open wound of the heart.

Today is the first wedding anniversary without my dear husband, so this topic is much on my mind. I have a distraction planned for today: a movie and dinner with a friend. So I expect I will weather this storm, too.

Smooth Sailing

Sailboat near Monterey, one of our favorite vacation spots

I wish all of you smooth sailing.


A note about the photos: The first one was taken by me from the balcony of the Royal Princess as we were leaving Scotland in the North Sea. Photos two and three are licensed from The last photo was taken in Pacific Grove, CA. in 2006 on my last trip to the Monterey Peninsula with my husband.