100 Foot Waves

Anxiety, fear, hormones, lack of sleep, I don’t know what it is but I am an emotional mess today.

Getting ready to start the day, I was sitting there and brushing H’s hair and just started crying. I don’t feel like doing anything. I have no motivation or maybe I do, but I don’t have the energy to do anything.

After I dropped H off at school and started my day, I received an email from someone at a nonprofit organization called EverMore in regards to a program called North Star that I am participating in.

I was asked to provide a brief bio and one of the last questions I was asked was if there is any encouragement or message I wanted to share with other bereaved parents/families?

This made me think. What would I say to someone who has experienced something similar to help them? The thing is, there are no words that really can “comfort” you or make the pain/anxiety go away. When you lose a child you are forever changed. But the one thing that has stuck with me, was an excerpt from a story that was read at a hospital memorial service for babies who passed away:

As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.


In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

This pregnancy has been full of waves for me. And today feels like a 100 foot one.

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3 thoughts on “100 Foot Waves

  1. Today’s post has me in tears in my office. I think of you, M, H and B, and this new baby often. I don’t know how you keep going, waves that come either expected or unexpected. You are so strong. I know the waves will never go away, but I hope the sea is calmer for you soon. ❤

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