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Learning to Swim

You Owe It To Yourself And Your Loved Ones To Do This; Never Give Up, Because The Tide Will Change Eventually!

If you have lost a loved one, you already know that grief never really goes away.  That is frightening, because the initial stages of grief are very hard work.  Sometimes when people hear that grief is not going to go away they have an incredibly difficult time believing they are strong enough to handle it.  When you have just lost someone, the pain is so intense that you do not believe you can deal with it for five minutes let alone the next 15 or 20 years.

However, I think we sometimes misunderstand the nature of grief.  Counselors talk about grief stages, but not everyone goes through those in the same order.  Further, counselors sometimes forget to say that grief, like a tide, ebbs and flows.  It is sometimes strong than other times, and that is completely normal.  We must learn to swim with that tide if we are to survive grief.  It is possible, but not easy.

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Vicki Harrison said, “Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” I agree that this analogy applies well because “swimming” means different things at different times.  Sometimes swimming is very easy, as when we are just dog-paddling around the shallow end.  Other times, swimming is hard work.  Michael Phelps, the Olympic champion swimmer, was rumored to eat 10,000 calories a day just to maintain his body weight due to all the swimming he did.  It requires energy to swim for a long time!

Fortunately for us, the energy requirements for grief vary from day to day.  There are going to be days when it feels overwhelming.  There are also going to be days when you begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Although you will never be completely without grief, you will eventually reach calmer waters if you keep trying, keep living and keep moving forward.

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