grieving in the ocean shallows

Grieving for someone is like standing in the shallows of the ocean.
You are always kind of standing in it,
but every so often a wave of it washes over [you]

— Susan Bro, interview on BBC Global News Podcast August 5, 2018

There I was in the groove of the morning routine, water boiling, oatmeal cooking, half-thinking about today’s to do list, half-listening to the usual daily news stories of earthquakes, fires, political unrest, global failures in governance, economic uncertainty, hopeful efforts at resolving conflict, innovative attempts to reverse climate change…I hadn’t even noticed the news anchor shift to looking back on the one-year anniversary of Charlottesville, when Susan Bro’s words crept into my awareness and the image that pursued them crashed into that spot in my middle of my calves where so many ocean waves have, knocking me back off my feet and leaving me bent over at the waste trying to recover my balance in the middle of my 1970s faux sand colored pebble linoleum floor with tears running down my face.

I wonder if we lose our sense of equilibrium as we get older because we have lost more of the people and creatures that we love and the water gets that much higher and the waves come that much more frequently.

Thank you, Ms. Bro, for this image. I will hold it with me, and it will help.
My body has learned how to sustain its balance in the shallows of the ocean, now it can teach my heart.


Ms. Bro is the mother of Heather Heyer, the young woman who was protesting against a white supremacy rally in the streets of Charlottesville on August 12, 2017 and was killed for her courage and commitment.