I have a Sunfish sailboat in my basement. I have no clue how to sail it and the trailer for it is long gone anyway having rusted through behind the garage. It seems a shame for it to just sit but it’s the one belonging of my late husband’s that my kids are adamant that we must not shed. I can picture him leaving the shore time after time while the kids, too little to go with him, and I waited on the shore for his return. They have that same picture in their heads I imagine. He always came back before.
This grief is a bit like pushing that sailboat into the ocean from the shore. At first the breakers pound you relentlessly and you fear they are going to push you to the bottom. Then after a while you get beyond them. There are still swells and the occasional breaker but you’re sailing now. You feel the adrenaline rush of your leave-taking begin to subside. There is calm in the sailing, even peace, though the need to change direction offers new challenges. Obstacles crop up that need to be circumnavigated. You maneuver. You jibe. You avoid the shifting boom in the wind. Peace returns but let’s be real, it’s not as secure as standing back on the shore. You find that you are steady in the wind again when – wham! – a rogue wave swamps the boat. It’s frightening. You fear you may not live through it. Soon you realize that you are not going to sink but you wonder if you really know what you’re doing out here.
You’re OK. So you do some bailing, steady your boat into the wind and trust you’ll find that even keel again.