Yesterday, I started my first scuba class. I read the book, watched the videos, and aced the written test. In the afternoon, we geared up and got in the pool. Using a regulator made me feel super human and it was amazing being underwater without having to come up for air. Then the instructor started to teach us the skills I’d read about – how to clear your mask when it floods with water, how to recover your regulator if it drops from your mouth, and how to share air with your buddy if you (or they) run out of air. I’m not joking, I came unglued. I panicked, and couldn’t do the tasks because I was unable to stop crying. I picked up all the gear I’d bought and never used, grabbed my bag and left. Frustration and embarrassment set in once I got to my car. I’d been preparing for the class for weeks and I know that it is only smart to practice for things that could go wrong during a dive. But something in my soul realized that I pushed myself too far too fast. I’m not ready for something else to go wrong. If I were to go for a dive I really believe I’d enjoy it if everything went smoothly. The thought of something going wrong, and my life (or someone else’s) being dependent on my actions and ability to problem solve quickly and calmly…that’s a big NOPE…at least right now anyway. And that’s the weird thing about grief. Months later you think you’re holding it together and doing okay and the next moment your running out of a scary situation and crying in your car (which has become a safe, judgement-free zone).
It’s highly likely that I overreacted, but I have limits. I’m the kid who breaks her leg on the trampoline, the girl who breaks her wrist and tailbone ice skating for the first time. The young lady who has skin cancer for the first time at 24. The woman who’s pregnancy results in a loss and possible cancer diagnosis. So maybe I did overreact in the moment, but I’ve decided to not complete the course. I’m frustrated that I feel this way and can’t just make it through the simple skills, but I’m proud of myself to be able to say I am too fragile.
I’ve met a friend through this grieving process, and though I’ve never met her in person she’s become a wonderful source of comfort and quiet strength. She grew up here in the US but has been living on the other side of the world in a Southeast Asian nation. Somehow our worlds collided when we both lost our babies and had our D&C procedures done the same week. We’ve walked each other through blood tests, grief, and heartache. This stranger turned friend has become a beacon of light for me.
Coincidentally this friend had mailed me a package back in May. Due to some vandalism at our community mailboxes, the package was held at the local post office. I picked it up on Friday and noticed the warnings that the contents of the package were fragile. I carefully unwrapped it, and revealed a beautiful hand blown glass vase. With it, a lovely letter explaining the history of the vase. It was made at the Nagar Glass Factory, in Yangon, Myanmar by the owner who was trained by Murano glass blowers. The factory was destroyed in 2008 by Cyclone Nargis and was never rebuilt. My friend explored this factory and after some searching, she found the glass vase for me. It’s a beautiful, transparent, and shattered on the inside. Yet it survived a cyclone, almost a decade of being buried in the ground, and a month in the hands of the U.S. Postal Service.
It could not have arrived at a more perfect time. I feel broken at times, barely holding it together. One tiny nick could seemingly shatter me. Yet it hasn’t.
There are so many wonderful things to come from this storm. I’m forever thankful for the women turned friends who stood by my side as we weathered the storm together. You’re a fragile treasure I hold near to my heart.