The three waves of grief

The lake’s surface was silky smooth and reflected the sky back at itself with greater clarity than the original. He watched the reflection of the birds flying above the lake, and noticed one of them appeared to smile downwards. Had it noticed his presence, or was it gazing at its own reflection? He didn’t know. He remained focused on the lake’s surface which was suddenly losing its stillness as a windy gust announced its arrival.

What’s that across the lake, he wondered? Surely it can’t be a wave. But a wave it was. It was travelling from the other side of the lake towards him. He stared at it, willing it to introduce itself. After all, who expected to meet a wave on a lake? As he watched it approach, intense pain erupted throughout every cell in his body. Pain like he’d never known. Pain which announced the world was ending. He cried out ‘Leave me alone, you bastard!’ to the wave. ‘It’s too much to bear! I didn’t invite you here. I hate you.’ But the wave didn’t deed his words. It kept coming. It even sped up and grew larger. He cried as the pain insisted he did, and he realised the wave didn’t care how much it hurt him. He curled up beside the lake and hyperventilated.

At the moment he thought he couldn’t take anymore, the pain stopped. He opened his eyes, and the lake was once again still. He wiped the tears from his face and sat up. Maybe he would survive, after all. Then there was another gust of wind and another wave, a blacker one, revealed itself on the other side of the lake. ‘Not again!’ he shouted. ‘If you leave me alone, I promise I’ll never come here again.’ But this wave was also deaf his to words, and it kept coming. It didn’t cause him as much pain as the first wave, but it was there to notify him that his life was over. He believed the wave. Its blackness had already colonised his world. He braced for impact as it approached his side of the lake. However, at the moment it was meant to destroy him, it disappeared.

He stood up to leave and never return. Before he could escape, a gust of wind created another wave on the other side of the lake, confirming there were always more waves coming. Whether he liked it or not. But this time he had a choice. He could walk away and avoid the next wave because he never wanted to experience one of these awful waves again.

He was confused by what he did next. He sat back down and watched the next wave approach from across the lake. Why would he do that, he wondered? The truth was he didn’t care anymore. The waves could keep coming if they wanted, and he’d sit there regardless. He let the third wave arrive.

As he did with all the others.