Grief is a very curious thing.

As an ocean beckons promising warmth and delight under a radiant sun, grief promises to feel warm, deceiving you into its icy shock and tension. Suddenly you have no idea how you got to this place.

 You have no idea how to get out.

 My muscles tighten as I try to ignore it, they ache as they try to separate from the only thing holding them together. My skin. It feels as though I have no choice but to settle in. Welcome this pain, embrace this emptiness.

 Be swallowed by it.

 In humble defeat I give up resolve, ignoring who I want to be, and embracing who I am in this moment. I am sad. Grief stricken and victimized by a love lost, a joy misplaced, and an irreplaceable dream taken.

I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t want to be heavy. I don’t want to be burdened. I feel hopeless to change the permanence of loss. Yet I don’t want to feel right. If a rescue came, I’m not sure I would take it. I’m not ready yet.

I only sense loss.

 I know there is much more beyond this ocean. I know this is a season. I know I will return to joy and again be buoyant. But for now, I embrace the millstone around my neck and sink. It’s darker, colder with each passing moment. It’s lonely; but I am not alone.

Even in my grief I have a friend. Quietly he breaths deep and sinks to the depths beyond me. I reach for him as he falls into the dark, we kick our way to the top. Knowing we need to come up for air. Knowing he needs me to pull him up. Knowing he will save me when I need him to break the waves. Knowing we are in this together; to give each other breath.

 The grief and loss have loosened their grip.

I realize now, as heavy as my heart is, I have more control over it then it has on me. There are moments often, when I allow it to creep back in, reminding me of its deceptive promise of warmth. Threatening to inflict pain, I cringe as it taunts me to return control. But I am awake in this slumber. I am swimming with my eyes open. I am not lost.

 I will not be overwhelmed.

I hope to never recover fully. I hope instead to always carry a sliver of pain under a mountain of happiness. For what I have lost is worthy of that honor; to be loved enough to cause permanent damage.  To remember a great joy with great love and gratitude, maybe someday peace.

 But for now, I’m content to simply float along the waves, breathing in the thick salted air. Hoping for the warmth of the sun, but willing to envelope myself in the depths of the chill. To remember the pain. To never forget the joy. To never stop loving what was lost.

To always remember those blue eyes.