Learning To Swim Through Your Muddy Waters
I hadn’t planned on grieving for you while your body is still warm, your mind still spinning, your voice still heard, your blood still clotted with drugs, but I do, and then I don’t.
This kind of grief is like a wave on the ocean that washes over me so grandly on occasion; it makes me think I may sink and drown at any moment… that I, as a mother bound by blood, should be as gone as you.
But then something buried deep inside of me takes over. It’s something so innate, something so perfectly timed… that I have no other choice but to accept it.
It’s called survival.
It is in that very moment, when the word survival lands front and center in my brain, I realize that I still know how to swim through that crashing, tumultuous wave… and I fucking do. I swim hard back to the safety of the shore and I am okay once again.
I am stronger because of you, because of the grief, because you are dead-alive, because living my own life allows me to still hold hope for you in my heart. Nothing more, nothing less! Just hope that you will become alive-alive again.
You are here,
still in my vision,
still in my heart,
still on my mind,
still within reach,
still almost alive,
still struggling to get through your own waves,
still searching for a way to survive your life!
But that underlying thing that killed you inside,
that killed your dreams,
that killed your passion,
that killed your hope,
that killed your current life and possibly your future,
that killed my dreams for you,
is far more present than you are,
and I have no choice but to accept that — for now and for forever.
You have not yet found your wings or the ability to let go of that which threatens you daily, and that is when the grief tries to rise up, tries to take me back into that ocean of waves again and again but… I let it go… for me… because I can now. I am stronger because of you, because of the grief, because you are still dead-alive.
You have made me unsinkable.
Those dreams I held for you, they try to keep me in that stand-still place and I fight it when those feelings arrive. They come as easily as my breath, but I have learned how to push it away now. I let it go.
Those were selfishly my dreams anyway, not yours. They were born maternally, but life — yours — unfolds under the guise of a new normal unfamiliar to you and to me and I have come to accept those terms, all because I have mastered the art of swimming through your muddy waters, through your endless ocean of struggles.
So, I unleash the tether that keeps us bound by blood, by love, by hope… and I swim. I swim harder and faster now because I am my own life raft. You cannot drown me now nor can you in the future. I still hurt for you, for your losses, for your sadness, but this is your journey alone.
Because of you, because of this grief, because I have no tears left, I have learned to embrace my own life as though every thought I have, as though every breath I take, keeps me fully alive, fully present to be where I am now, in my own life, mindful of yours but not fully vested anymore.
I have learned to cross the ocean — your ocean — without drowning.
I will always be here to offer you swimming lessons, yes, always and forever, but I will not drown with you. So yes, I grieve the living when the living lies in the tattered shadows of what could be. I wish it were different, but nonetheless, I am okay.
I am stronger because of you, because of the grief, because I found the value of my own well-lived life.
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