I share these thoughts this morning with a disclaimer. Grief is a personal journey. It is non-linear. It comes in waves. Sometimes those waves feel oppressive and induce a sense of drowning. Those who are currently in that ocean or have swam in it understand this first hand.
But how one treads that tumultuous water and stays afloat is not easily taught. Responses of some include flailing, dog-paddling, kicking and screaming while others might appear to be swimming safely back to shore. It’s easy to make comparisons with others who are in the same water. Everyone reacts and responds differently when the loss occurs. There is no right way to do it. And certainly no room for judgment for those who are overwhelmed by it.
With that said, let me share a description of my swimming lessons.
As a young boy with both parents working, I spent a lot of time alone on our 26 acre farm. Before I was old enough to work in the hayfields or other employment available to country kids, I had to figure out what to do with my time. There was no cable service with 155 uninteresting and unwatchable channels. Our black&white set only got 3 uninteresting and unwatchable network channels over the rabbit ears antenna. Video games weren’t invented yet, so I had to go about it the old fashioned way. I had to get creative.
This was the season when I learned how to fish, shoot rabbits, ride a motorcycle, build a treehouse. I loved doing craft projects. I still have Christmas ornaments I made out of a kit my mom bought me. I got into leatherwork and made belts and wallets. I even planted my own tomatoes in a plywood box that I also made. What 11 year old kid does all that?
Oddly enough, being alone is not my biggest fear now as a widower. I learned a young survival skill that would serve me into adulthood. I knew how to be alone. That was not going to be my hurdle.
Mine would be regrets. And what to do with them.
One wave I was blindsided by was unresolved conflict. Remembering a fight or argument that will never get settled. Words that were said that leave me with regret, knowing I can never take them back, never being able to say “I’m sorry.
This is what washes over me.
I tell you this because you might have a chance to settle the score with someone before it’s too late. What’s your inner voice saying? Take the time to make things right.
Make today count.