When does the shock fully wear off? Will this always feel surreal?

The grief is often like swimming in deep water, always treading or holding onto something to keep afloat, sometimes knowing exhaustion is upon you and you may go under and never come back up again. Feeling the water, the grief, touching every single part of me as I go under and hear the silent loudness of the underwater world in my ears. It is all around me, the water, the grief. Some moments I want to give in to it. Some moments I fight against it, and seem to make very little progress. Sometimes it is warm and envelopes me like a familiar blanket that is permanently attached. Other times it startles me with the changes in temperature and how it feels to my skin, the water, the grief. Sometimes I feel the love here – like little pockets of cold water caught among the heat waves of the smoldering grief, the hot water everywhere except in those surprising spaces when I remember what the dream of our love felt like, when it felt so good, so steadying, so solid, so forever. What soothes can also kill. What heals can also injure. What loves can also leave.

How can one actually build a life around such devastation? I used to always wonder about characters in films who show up in a new town where noone knows who they are, they have no backstory, no past, everything is new, and they have a new name and identity. I don’t wonder anymore why people do that sort of thing. If I could, I would run away. But I don’t have that choice, and I choose everyday to stay present and alive and engaged with our kids. My soul wishes the trauma could be erased like chalk on a chalkboard, just gone with barely a trace of dust behind. How can a life be rebuilt when the awful will always be true? Pain cannot be outrun or outsmarted. But when one chooses to stay, what do they do with all the pain?


Grief as confusing, with bits of what used to be alive here and there; with light bursting into the scene and water soothing you, always. Description – image of a blurry single blade of freshly cut grass floating in the pool and reflections of sunlight bouncing off the water; image captured by iPhone 11xr; edited in Snapseed as a double exposure with 2 images taken seconds apart with noir co1 filter, No added blur or additional edits
Grief as solid, hard, and unmoving, but there is movement all around it. Description – image of metal rope holder on side of pool wall; image captured by iPhone 11xr; edited in Snapseed with noir co1 filter, No added blur or other edits
Grief is multifaceted- it isn’t only blackness, there is light too, and it is all intermingled and the light bounces around; There are moments of blur and fog, and moments of clarity and specificity. Description – macro image of self watering glass bulb in cactus plant; image captured by iPhone 11xr; edited in Snapseed with noir co1 filter, No added blur or other edits
The world is less everything without you in it. Description – wrist tattoo saying “stay alive”; image captured by iPhone 11xr; edited in Snapseed with bw bright filter, No added blur or other edits

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