There is a reason, a season, a lifetime for friendships, at least they say that there is. You have a friend for a reason. The one you go to movies with, the other who is perfect at a party or yet another that is willing to try anything and pushes you to do the same. Some friends will last forever – they are your lifetime friends. Some are meant to be in your life for shorter periods. Sometimes there is a falling out or sometimes, you mean to call and too much time goes by or you simply have drifted apart.
Grief has a an obvious reason – the death of your loved one. Many people believe in a season for grief meaning you have a window where you can fall apart and after that you are expected to be the same person you were before the grief event took place. The reality is that grief is a lifetime and the seasons of grief are those windows of your grief journey when it becomes more or less painful. It is ever present though.
The same way the ocean ebbs and flows, so does grief. At the beginning, it is tumultuous and unpredictable like a stormy sea. At times, it is more calm, and manageable, but ever present like when the seas are relatively calm, but there are small ripples in the water. Like ocean currents, grief changes, but always comes in waves.
Lately, my grief has been more focused on my mother. I miss my sister dearly, but have missed my mother’s humour and savvy. The longer she’s been gone, the more I realize how much I still had to learn from her but in some ways, when I complete something, I can hear her steering me to those calmer seas that I crave. My mother was the most powerful presence. My sister was more reserved – more of a north star used to direct us versus being the person that would rock the boat.
My mother’s birthday is on April 15th. With that comes the waves of grief. I won’t be able to celebrate with her or just celebrate her in general. I won’t be able to buy her the ridiculous cake with the big flowers that she loved so much. She always cut a piece with the biggest flower. Once she finished that piece, she would start cutting little pieces off of the end. Cake was her favourite food group and as much as I hated that damn thing, I miss seeing her glee over her birthday dessert.
When the waves of grief are smaller, I laugh thinking about some of the things that my mother pulled. She had no shame. I think of her voice on the phone when she’d leave me a message. It was almost always this same, “Hi Dayo. It’s your mama calling. Where are you? Bye.” I miss her spirit and her smile. I miss being able to ask her a question with the confidence that she would almost always have the answer. She was brilliant.
I know that there are days when the swells of grief may feel like they will be too much. In those difficult days, I remind myself that my mother went through grief too, and she did what we all have to do. She survived and she lived her life. I allow myself that moment though. She deserves it.
I’ve always felt a pull to the ocean, having spent my childhood there. The poem, Sea-Fever by John Masefield reminds me, not just of my love for the ocean, metaphorically, my mother, but the star to steer the ship by – my sister:
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.