I’ve become intimately acquainted with the phrase “grief comes in waves.”
Sometimes it’s like I’m walking on the warm, dry sand and the water rolls in and laps at my feet. I just continue on my walk, enjoying the ocean view, wet feet and all. Other times, it’s like I’m on the shore happily building a sandcastle when out of nowhere, a wave comes crashing down on my castle, carrying it out to sea. I can’t just start building again. I look out over the water and remember. I feel whatever comes. When the time is right, I move on and find another spot to rebuild. And wait for another wave.
Today I went to Staples to get a couple of pictures of Chandler enlarged and put on foam board. Four months ago, my friend Stephanie stood in that same spot and ordered posters of Chandler for his memorial. I thought how difficult that must have been for her. It felt surreal this morning, pointing to a screen to indicate to the guy at the counter which pictures of Chandler I wanted blown up and how big. I didn’t tell him the handsome guy we were looking at wasn’t here any more. I didn’t tell him those pictures would be joining the ones from his memorial on display shelves in his room. I didn’t want to burden that young man with tears, and they were just too close.
Later, I went to IKEA to get the picture ledges for all the Chandler posters. As I approached the entrance, I remembered going there with the boys to get bunk beds or tables, or some other piece of furniture that would drive us to cuss with its cryptic assembly instructions and missing — or extra — parts. I recalled the bliss of leaving the kids in the supervised ball pit for an hour while I got to stroll through the labyrinthine maze of couches, chairs, rugs, shelves, curtains, coffee tables…. It’s a miracle anyone ever finds their way through those endless switch-backs to that ball pit to pick up their kids.
Today’s waves were manageable. Wet feet. Enjoyable walk. Beautiful view.