The Ocean Waves
The waves of the ocean are often used as an illustration of grief’s fickle unpredictability and immense power that leaves us vulnerable to being tossed about by its current with nothing to grab hold of. Our emotions take over. We feel helpless and overwhelmed and wonder when we will regain control.
If you’ve attended a GriefShare series, you’re familiar with the “Tangled Ball of Emotions” which was developed by Dr. H. Norman Wright. After the tragedy of losing a child, our emotions take charge and things are out of control. We wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” I have good news for you, there’s NOTHING wrong with you, this is NORMAL in grief. And there’s MORE good news…there IS something we can do.
Identifying our emotions, describing them with word pictures, and thinking about how they make us feel, will help us understand them and develop a balance. Let’s look at anger. You might describe anger as a sledge hammer or a pot of boiling water. You might use the colors red and yellow to describe anger like the colors of fire. Give it a ferocious sounding name! Give it two names if you want to. (Have you thought about why parents call their child by their first and middle name when they’re upset with them? Can you hear them? “John Michael Smith… Come here NOW!” It puts the parent in a place of authority!) Go ahead… yell at your anger if you want to! Think about how anger makes you feel and what it makes you want to do. Who or what are you angry at? How do you feel after it subsides? How would you like to feel rather than angry? Writing these things down will provide clarity. Understanding how anger affects you will lessen the control it has over you. And so it will go as you address your other emotions.
I’d encourage you to take time this week to identify the emotions you are feeling… loneliness, depression, sadness, anger. Describe them in living color, give each one a name, and identify how that emotion controls you. If you do this, it will help you gain understanding and balance in your life. If you work on your emotions throughout the week, perhaps you’ll be pleasantly surprised on Mother’s Day. It just might be a better day than you thought!