We waded into the water, allowing the waves to lap at our legs and I thought it was wonderful...just like the ocean, right? Soon we got further out and started feeling the force of the waves at waist level. I saw some people on inner-tubes and thought about going back to get one, but just decided to follow my friend who had lots of experience. The waves stopped for a bit, and we started dog paddling while we chatted because the depth had dropped and we could no longer touch the bottom of the pool, but everything seemed OK. I scanned for the side of the pool and noticed we were only six or eight feet away - an easy distance to swim if this experience wasn't quite for me.
All of a sudden, the waves turned back on - and I watched my friend lurch forward in order to stay between the waves and float on top as they went by. Unfortunately I had no clue what was going on and I was thrust under water. Trying to stay calm - I kicked and swam upward to get to the top of the wave, but what I didn't know was that I was floating up and down with the wave instead of between them (I think that is how it is supposed to work, anyway)...and my body never found the air. As the wave went up, so did I in the center of it, and as it went down, I did, too. Even though I was trying to swim upward to get out of it, I was trapped.
I tried to swim for the wall, but the waves were overpowering and I couldn't get out of the cycle. I started to panic and finally just threw my hand up hoping to signal the lifeguard. I felt air on my fingers and a moment later my friend's sister grabbed my hand, pulling me out of the wave and dragged me to the wall. I came out sputtering and never entered the wave pool again (except on an inner-tube later that day, going no deeper than 4 feet). I guess swimming the waves was not for me (though I have casually enjoyed the ocean a couple of times since).
example of a wave pool
It was as if all of the mental and spiritual things I have thought about and worked through over the past weeks just disappeared, and once again I just couldn't believe that my baby boy wasn't here with me. All of the feelings of desperate loss, anger, and searing sadness pulled me under - and I couldn't get out of the wave.
Thankfully, it did pass - and I did get out. I'm sure the Lord grabbed my hand and protected me, though I didn't have any audible, physical, or spiritual indications of that in those exact moments. But I know the Bible says he is near to the brokenhearted and that he will never leave us - and I trust His promises. My man was there, and though he really couldn't do anything, he was there - and that in itself helped a lot. Thankfully the tide turned a couple of hours later, and the wave left as quickly as it came. I was finally able to sleep.
I have described grief like waves before, but there must be several sizes - the kind that lap at your ankles, the kind that crash against your waist, and the kind the seek to drown. Thank the Lord that my mind knows the truth - that he will be with us and eventually bring joy - because as I came sputtering out that wave cycle, I did feel some peace return. But while I was drowning, I couldn't believe how terrifying it was and I couldn't be comforted. Like the graphs in my friend's post showed, it was just as intense as being at square one again.
The process of grief has been described to me as three steps forward, two steps back; four steps forward, two steps back, etc. I've also heard that those with living children often experience delayed grief cycles because we have to expend the little energy we do have on our kiddos instead of on grieving (though I am so very thankful for my littles...they have truly kept me going, even though caring for them during exhausting grief is hard).
I would love to just say that I will stay out of the "grief wave pool" for good from now on - but I know these waves are impossible to escape. I am praying for strength - to brace myself when the next wave comes - and to continue to feel His peace when it passes.