A Riptide of Grief

Long ago, at Folly Beach in South Carolina, some good times were interrupted by what seemed to me to be an eternity of terror. If you have experience with riptides, you probably know just what I mean.

We were in hip-deep water when all of a sudden, I was pulled under by a riptide. I couldn’t get my footing. I remember seeing sand and sky over and over and over again. No matter how hard I tried, I could not stand. Finally, a hand reached down, got hold of me, and pulled me to my feet.

That riptide is what my life feels like at present. That is the most accurate way I know to describe the grief I have been living through this year. I try to get my footing. I try to set goals for myself to accomplish something each day. But riptides are a constant threat. Last night I cried myself to sleep again.

My dear mother was a widow for 13 years, and she died just two months shy of her 90th birthday. I am a widow for the rest of my life and am decades away from my 90th birthday. I have much to be thankful for in my life. But nothing in my life prepared me for the trials of this year.

How does one prepare to see the man they love climb to the top of the stairs and then collapse on the floor for lack of oxygen? How do you brace yourself for the news, that after today, there will be no visiting allowed in the hospital?

Thankfully, I was able to bring him home.

Ron and I celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary in January. Two months later, he was dead. We hadn’t even finished arranging our Ohio home. Dying intervened. We had lots of plans: things to do, places to go, people to see. Death had other plans.

This woman, who loved and was loved by her husband, is stuck in a riptide of grief. It keeps pulling me under.

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9 Responses to A Riptide of Grief

  1. I lost my mum in January and am finding this time in Wales during lockdown and the virus very difficult. Some days and nights are indescribable other days like today are uplifting- due to looking after my grandson 21 months old. In others I can find myself. You have lost two loved ones so my loss is not comparable. But I understand your description of a riptide and I visited South Carolina a while ago. I think the beach was called Edisto beach- quite a special place. Keep writing and talking. It helps you and others.

  2. Chuck Georgi says:

    I know that you have probably heard all this before, and I think writing about it is one of your ways to deal with it all. The grief and pain will always be there, but dealing with it is what comes easier with time. It’s an old saying but true for so many, get a dog, it’ll make you “two” again, caring for and doing things and planning on what to do for someone else. Think about it.

  3. AECRM says:

    Valeriemeredith, thank you so much for what you have written. Dealing with the loss of someone you love is difficult enough — but during this lockdown, it is even harder. I have a brother & sister-in-law close by which helps me, and I get to video chat with my daughter and grandchildren which is good. I’m so glad that you have that grandson to look after. Caring for others is a blessing. I’m glad you got to visit in South Carolina. I lived there for many years and it is a lovely place. Take care of yourself! Ann

  4. AECRM says:

    Chuck, I am in fact a cat person, I’ve never had a dog, but I often think about getting a pet. I plan to do some traveling next year and have thought maybe after that time. . . but thank you for the idea. It is indeed a good one! Ann

  5. Jan Seibel says:

    Dear Ann, I think I am in a riptide this very day as well. After speaking with my mom’s favorite Dr.’s nurse this morning the tears won’t stop. She shared with me that this is how it is now, love her as she is. One day you will see her again. She also said she could hear my guilt…who would’ve thought?…. but the tears flowed with that obvious truth. Not able to see her because of this Covid, her loosing a little bit of herself each day, and feeling like I’m not doing enough. As the nurse said, you are mourning her loss already. So true.
    So with a husband, a lover, friend, confidant and more, the pain must be so much more.
    Writing is your therapy, continue! Plant that garden, with Ron watching from above. Do what you enjoyed with him, even take his picture along. Whatever makes your heart happy and know that he would want you to carry on and enjoy your time on this earth, until you meet again. Love you!!

  6. AECRM says:

    Oh, Jan, I am so sorry about your Mom. When our parents lose their memories, it is so tough to watch. Mine knew who we were when we were with her or when we talked to her, but after we left, she would call to ask if I knew who that young man was who took her to lunch (my brother). Still, we were spared much of the hard parts that you have had to live through. You have no control over most of this. You are doing fine. You are doing what you can do — and there is no reason to fault yourself. Soon she will be in the kingdom and made new again.

    I’ve just finished Friday’s blog post and you are spot on — writing is therapy for me. The next two posts are a tad light-hearted. Ron loved having fun and I am trying to live life as happily as I know how these days. I’ve gotten my bike in working order and have gone riding. I’ve had a picnic or two in the park. Stuff we used to do together. I like to imagine Ron meeting my parents and reuniting with his parents in the Kingdom. I do dare to hope he cleaned up his Navy vocabulary!

  7. Jan Seibel says:

    Thank you Ann! I truly had to chuckle at your last line. I do know what that’s like with a son in the Navy. Asking for forgiveness for their colorful language, lol. I’m sure they are having a grand time!

  8. Ann,
    I’m so sorry. I wish there was something I could say to make it hurt less, but life doesn’t work that way.
    I will pray for you I will hold tight to God for you.

  9. AECRM says:

    CaitlynneGrace, You are correct, there nothing that can be said to make my loss hurt less. But I thank you for your prayers. Prayers are one thing we can always do for each other. Thank you for praying for me. Ann

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