If you are friends or family of ours, please do not be offended that I didn't share this site with you. You are more than welcome to stay, read and participate, but be aware that somethings said here are not directed at you. While some of the posts and comments might be uncomfortable for you, remember the purpose of this site: It's dealing with My pain and My Grief that you just can't understand until you lose one of your own. I know you want to help ease my pain (and you have in many ways) but there will always be burdens you can't help me with, so I turn to my fellow bereaved.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Shooting the Curl

Surviving The Holidays was actually more difficult than I could have imagined. In my naiveté or more likely state of denial, I had constructed an elaborate theory that since Olivia left us before we ever experienced a Christmas with her it wouldn't hurt as much because we didn't have any direct memories of 'Last Christmas.' Wow was I wrong....

Ever since Thanksgiving there has been a gradual crescendo of feelings and emotions just waiting to pour out. The first punch to the gut came at Thanksgiving Dinner toasting our beloved Olivia, realizing that there wasn't much to be thankful for in 2009. Being inundated with happy-happy-joy-joy advertising hawking the newest children's toys sure didn't help either.  Another reminder of what we've lost came when we received a beautiful pair of angel wings from Christa over at Fumbling Toward Motherhood.... Christa enclosed a very nice card and well wishes along with a gorgeous pair of shimmering gold wings, which went straight to the top of our Christmas tree, bringing both Sara and myself to tears. I know we will never need to look for another angel to grace the top of our tree.... Christmas Eve and Christmas day were of course the most difficult days because of the constant reminder of what should have been. It just doesn't seem right celebrating without the greatest present we were ever given. Gift exchanges this year were much more muted but beautifully focused on our little angel. I borrowed Francesca's Hope Collage idea and created personalized collages for some of our immediate family members while Sara printed and framed some beautiful pictures of our Olivia as gifts. This created a sad but beautifully reflective tone to the Holiday. Visiting Olivia's grave on Christmas is not where I saw myself one year ago... so painful. Our New Years Eve was more a good riddance 'celebration' than a fond farewell to a year that started with such promise only to end with such pain...

The last months have truly helped me understand the description grief as a wave; there are peaks and valleys, there is a push and pull, they can be gentle or violent, but most of all they reshape whatever they touch over time for better or worse. I assume most of us have seen video of people standing on a pier or jetty watching the first waves of a storm roll in only to be accidentally swallowed by a rogue wave crashing well over their heads, quickly struggling to stay afloat and make it back to shore. The morning Olivia died can well be described this way. Sara and I had been fighting a gathering storm for nearly six months, wanting to believe  that the incoming waves were settling into a gentle rhythm we could live with, only to find ourselves swept away by one rogue wave into a violent whirlpool of emotion. While we physically survived the initial storm, emotionally we were bruised and battered beyond easy recognition. Slowly we have been fighting our way back to shore, still buffeted by waves, sometimes gentle, sometimes rough, but always there. The transforming power of waves/water is evident all around us in this world. It can create spectacular natural wonders like the Grand Canyon or it can undermine foundations and bring buildings crashing down. I wonder what shore will look like when we get there.

I wish I had the skills to Shoot this Curl, but somehow I keep having the waves crash on top of me....


  1. My friend

    I am sorry that this Christmas has been so difficult for you. It is understandable of course and inevitable. But hard.

    The wave analogy is spot on. Surfing the wave is perhaps more than you can hope for, but perhaps keeping your head above water may be achievable and in time the storm will subside.

    It is great that you have done some beautiful things to remember Olivia and help others to do the same.

    Take care

  2. Ben I'm so sorry you've had to endure that first painful Christmas. Believe me, none will be as bad as the first one. I think also that for most of us, bidding farewell to 2009 brought a collective sigh of relief. It's been a very tough year for many of us as we struggle through living without our children. It's amazing to me that I continue to get out of bed some days. I love the way you honoured Olivia with the collage and picture, what a beautiful thing to do. I'm hoping the coming year is gentler on you and Sara and that eventually you'll have more peace in your hearts than anguish. Sending you both hugs

  3. I was listening to my ipod today and this song came up. I thought of your shooting the curl analogy and wanted to share the song with you.

    Jars of Clay's Flood


  4. Thanks LITR -

    I hadn't thought of or heard that song in a long time. It absolutely captures my feeling of being overwhelmed. I can only continue to hope that there is 'someone/something' to Lift me Up when I need it the most....



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