I was born and raised in Florida. In fact, I’ve lived here my entire life–all 62 years. It’s needless to say I love it here, heat and all!
As a child to get a break from the heat, we would go to the beach and play in the surf. When I was really small my Dad would take me by the hand to protect me from the big waves. As I grew body surfing became my favorite, even though the waves would always invariably knock me down. I would emerge from the salt bath ready to take on the next mountain of water. Laughter, waves of laughter to match the swells of the sea kept me coming back for more.
When our children were born. I taught each of them how to wave to their grandparents, whether saying hello or goodbye it didn’t matter. A wave was a connection between generations that our little ones could communicate in their own way bringing joy and laughter to all of us. These precious children were part of our growing family that caused waves of pride in our heart for them.
Once our children grew up and got married they began moving away to find their own path. With them they took our 9 grandchildren. This caused waves of sadness in my heart realizing that we wouldn’t share our day to day lives together anymore. The distance would create a void in my heart that was hard to explain, even to my husband and close friends. I was heartbroken over these unforeseen changes in my life. I cried out to God asking Him to heal my sadness, and over time He did. He caused a wave of gratefulness to flood my broken heart sealing it with His love. As each of my grandchildren would wave goodbye, I turned it into a game–the Disney Princess wave that says, “Elbow to wrist, elbow to wrist. Touch your pearls. Blow a kiss.” Waves of giggles and laughter would fight away my tears.
In the last two years our family has faced waves of grief; Grief over tragic illnesses even the medical community didn’t recognize; waves of grief over our daughter and son-in-love’s micro-preemie boy and the challenges they would face for years to come. The unknown future felt like I was little all over again facing a giant wave ready to knock me down. But this time my Heavenly Father held me tightly as I served our daughter with all I had. We learned to laugh in the face of adversity together knowing God had Elias safely in His arms. No wave was a match for His steady hand.
Finally, I’m once again dealing with waves of fresh grief.
This time it’s from my brother’s sudden passing from this life to the next. I miss him and when it hits I feel the crushing blow of it as it knocks me to my knees. I let the wave of tears flow knowing that like the tide they will roll in and roll out. No wave lasts forever and my own history teaches me that.
I’ve also come to expect laughter through the tears. I hear my brother’s voice mocking me, teasing me and joking with me always with a twinkle in his eyes. He had a way of breaking through my emotions whether it was sadness or anger, making me laugh whether I wanted to or not.
Billy, who was five years older, loved the beach as much as I did as a kid. He taught me how to body surf and not be afraid of the next wave no matter how big it appeared to me. He showed me how to dive into it allowing the wave to roll over me without effect. It worked! Laughter followed as I found a new way to face my fears with success.
I hear him now telling me to duck. These waves of grief are evidence that I loved him and the time we had together for all of my 62 years. Laughter will follow the sadness in waves too, until the Lord returns or I am called home. But for now I wipe my tears with gratefulness to God and repeat, “Elbow to wrist, elbow to wrist. Touch your pearls. Blow a kiss.”