The journey I am on is a journey with a very distinct beginning, yet it is a journey without an end. Imagine walking down the beach towards the sea, taking the first tentative step as the waves break around your feet and walking out deeper and deeper into the ocean. As the water surrounds you you realise at some point you need to start swimming and so you just swim, further and further away from the shoreline. The further you get from where you were the more lost you become until eventually the shoreline, and everything you know disappears completely from view. As you lose sight of where you were, you have no idea which direction to go in, and so you have only one option, keep swimming, keep swimming.
And whilst that analogy holds true we wouldn’t really do that would we, we wouldn’t just walk out into the sea and begin swimming. If we wanted to swim the English Channel we would have a support vessel, we’d cover our bodies in a protective layer to keep us warm, we would inform the Coast Guard of where we were going, we would avoid all the large ships which crossed our path and eventually, with the aid of everything around us we would reach the other side.
And yet, even with all this help, I’m sure that when the sight of land disappears behind us and has yet to appear in front of us, it could seem as though we are in the middle of the channel with nothing but pain and torture in front of us. It’s only the sheer determination to keep going that would keep us on our path to the other side.
The difference with grief is that there isn’t another side, there isn’t a destination. There is only the journey. And yet, with the support of those around us, our own internal resources and the sheer determination that we all possess. We can just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.
And as I keep on swimming it becomes easier to accept that this is my life now, it becomes easier to accept that I can no longer see the shoreline from where I started. It was a lovely shoreline, I spent many happy years relaxing on it and enjoying being there, but it’s gone, it has disappeared from sight and will never return.
I’ve no idea which way to go on this journey, I’m just going to pick a direction and keep tenaciously swimming, accepting the help of those around me to act as my support vessel and just keep on going until the glorious day that grief turns in to love and I sight land head.