Grief is like being underwater.
One moment you're swimming along effortlessly, your strong strokes slide through the surface of the clear blue water.
Then without warning, you're sinking. Down, down, into the silence.
You hang there, weightless and still, and you wait.
You know that right above you, shimmering just out of reach, people move about their day, unaware of this silent world-beneath-the-world.
But you? You are in a state of suspended animation, without even the rush of air filling your lungs to distract you. All you hear is the steady beating of your own heart; its rhythm is the antidote to the sadness: I'm. Still. Here.
It's nice, in the quiet. Here you are invisible; safe in your cocoon of grief where nothing can reach you. Out there in the world light and sound are jarring, rudely poking their noses into your consciousness as you tiptoe from one moment to the next. Out there you have to Smile and Move On. Here you can simply be.
How odd, you think, that grief is comforting. Wrapped in its tight embrace you have permission to drop away from the mundane needs of everyday life, to not cope for a while.
You don't want to let go of the silence, the calm, the reverie. When you're here you can close your eyes and imagine the world as it felt before.
But you can't stay, no matter how much you want to. You are only a visitor here. Your lungs begin to twitch, aching for air, and you know you have to return.
Taking one last long look around, you smile. Good-bye.
You tilt your face upwards, and with a few strong kicks of your legs you feel the sun on your face, and hear the sound of your children's laughter from the shore. "Come see, Momma!" they shout.
And you do. You go see.