You Can’t Breathe Under Water

Dec 5, 2015

This morning I can’t seem to shake these thoughts and despite my long list of tasks that I hope will get me through the difficulty of this day I am sitting down and attempting to write an entry giving voice to what I am feeling. Please bear with me. Life is filled with grief. It comes at us every time we turn on the news or meet with friends or neighbors or engage in a casual conversation at the grocery store. We are bombarded with stories of loss. Accidents, sudden deaths, prolonged illnesses, violence , fires , it goes on and on. It is what life is and has always been. Compassionate and caring people process those stories of loss , give voice to that compassion, exchange words of sympathy and horror and support one another . It can sometimes seem overwhelming as in instances of mass sorrow like 911,Columbine and the Paris shootings. It can make one feel like they are drowning. I have a friend that does not listen to the news and I think she is on to something but even with a no news policy suffering leaks in to our everyday . If you have stopped reading I don’t blame you. I almost stopped writing but I am going to try to get back to what occurred to me this morning. Collective and selective grieving is very different than personal grieving and of course every one of the situations we hear of has at the core of it the personal and very real grief of the people it is actually happening to. I compare the two to swimming above and below the water. When you are feeling the grief as one only hearing about it you have your head above water swimming through the sadness of it and usually it is a quick effortless swim. Sometimes when it is so unimaginable you swim in rougher water even needing to hold one another up or grab a life preserver of some kind to ride out the treacherous waves. You might be in danger of loosing your breath for a moment but you are still above the water. When the grief is your own that grief plunges you deep under the water. Those first few hours days and months you sometimes feel that you will never catch your breath. You will never break through the surface and breathe freely again. But you do. Something, someone, some power forces you to the surface and you find the way to swim there on your own. But the thing is you get plunged down there over and over again. That is the difference between what you feel when you feel others pain and loss and what you feel when you experience your own. That is just the way it is and does not make what you feel for others or what others feel for you less than what it is. It is just reality. The loss you must bear is yours alone and the effort it takes to swim to the surface when you find yourself under water comes from just doing it over and over . Some days it is harder than others. But you can’t breathe under water. I am thankful for everything in my life that propels me to the surface and makes swimming up from the deep water worth while.


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