Tonight, while swimming in the clear water illuminated by underwater lights at our local health club, I ruminated on my grieving, drawing parallels between these two seemingly unrelated processes. As I glided through the water, many things came to mind for me to consider.
Stroke, stroke. Grieving is like swimming through water which sometimes seems syrupy thick, and at others more like a gauzy film.
Stroke, stroke. The resistance I feel against my body as I swim is like the resistance I feel to the emotions which continue to well up at inopportune times.
Stroke, stroke. Around lap number eight, my goggles fog up and my vision is murky at best, just as my mental vision has been subsumed at times by the powers of grief.
Rest. The exertion of swimming becomes overwhelming, and I tire around lap nine. I take a respite, just as one must from the tiresome exertion of grieving.
Stroke. The pool is representative of the well of emotion one must experience through this process of loss and recovery of self.
Stroke, stroke. I continue along my trajectory, but now my arms feel leaden, like the water is actually made of sand. Grief can make life feel this way---heavy, thick, almost impossible to wade through without exhaustion.
Rest again. The water now feels like a protective cloak, and my body can also revel in its enveloping softness.
Stroke. I push through the resistance, overcome inertia, just long enough to accomplish a small earthly task.
Can grieving end with such certainty? Does one just exit the pool, towel off, and head for home? Certainly not, for better or for worse. And the swimming has only just begun.