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Moon over ocean image

A three-quarter moon glowed pinkish-peach from the rising sun’s reflection on its shadowy surface, as it made its decent towards the horizon. Alone, I stood on the beach taking in the luminescent beauty of the moon, and the glimmering platinum ocean. The early morning light created a symphony of colors as the blue from the sky peaked through the fog, creating a metallic bluish-silver color.

The sand was smooth without foot prints, except for the occasional spiky claw print of a seagull. Bundled up with a scarf, hat and jacket on, I walked slowly from one length of the beach to the other, about half a mile, stopping occasionally to take in the quickly changing scenery and watching as the waves gently rolled and crashed. Their sound soothed my broken heart.

It had been eight months since I had separated from John, after being married for 17-years. Despite the separation being my idea, I was devastated that we hadn’t been able to resolve our differences. The grief was unbearable at times, especially since it was compounded by the loss of my dog and letting go of my dream of having a baby. Now, I was also letting go of my life companion and the home we had created together.

That morning, tears surfaced, as I remembered all of the good times we had cruising together in our early thirties. Being near the ocean, I longed for those simpler times that we shared while at sea.

Initially, I resisted my grief thinking, “When will the pain go away? Haven’t I grieved long enough?” I had recently been experiencing more joy and excitement about the possibilities for re-inventing my life. Then, a wave of intense grief would come crashing in, taking me by surprise. Tired of the grief, I felt annoyed. I wanted to stay in my joy.

As I let go of my resistance and allowed my tears to flow, I came back to the present moment, and opened my eyes to the beauty and life all around me…a feather on my foot path, perhaps a gift from Spirit; four dolphins surfacing in unison, diving back into the ocean, surfacing again, in a choreographed dance; fishing boats speeding out to sea; the seagulls and pelicans performing their morning feeding ritual; two young men body-surfing near the cliffs. Life continued on in full force despite all of the deep loss I was feeling.

At a distance, while heading back to my car, I saw a woman dancing to her iPod in the shallow water. I decided to be playful and imitate some of her moves, as I passed her. We both laughed and acknowledged each other. My heart felt lighter and joy surfaced once again.

Allowing the fullness of my grief to move through me, I opened myself up to experiencing joy.

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Karen Mehringer, MA, MFT - Grief support, counseling and life coaching in Santa Cruz area.