Since losing Jessica, our lives have changed forever. It feels as though we have been thrown into a boat, tossed on the waves of a stormy sea. Behind us is the island that was our happy complete family life. An island that we are forever exiled from. An island that we desperately want to return to. We have no way of getting back. This boat has oars, but we don’t know how to use them yet. We’re just frantically paddling away, doing our best to get through the storm somehow.
We look back at the island – longingly, desperately. Wishing that the storm could stop, wishing that the waves would die down. We long for the safety of our island, for the life we knew there, but the waves just keep taking us further and further away while the storm rages around us. At times the storm is so strong that it seems the boat is in danger of capsizing. We cling to each other in fear, not knowing how we can go on. For a moment, the wind stops howling, the rain stops pouring and there is calm. We breathe again, all the while knowing that this is just a pause. A lull before the storm begins to rage again.
The love and support of those around us is like a lighthouse far away. In the midst of the storm and the raging sea, the light reminds us that we are not alone. It tries to steer us away from the rocks and back towards calmer waters.
Sometimes when the sea is calm, the lull of the waves drift us to sleep. We dream we are back home, back on the island again. The boat and the storm and the waves – surely we must have imagined them? But then the storm starts to rage once again and we wake with a start. We look back and see our island is far, far away. No matter how hard we try, we cannot turn our boat back. We must just navigate our way through the storm as best we can. Not knowing which way to steer or what land lies ahead.
At some point no doubt we will find land. A new land – strange and unfamiliar. There will be days when the storms rage around the shores of this new land. Sometimes we will find ourselves back in the boat tossed about by the waves, longing to return to the island that will always be home. Each time, the boat will bring us back to the new land. This is where we must stay. We can never leave it, no matter how much we long to return home.
I am sure we will find beauty in this new land. Not the beauty of the island we were forced to leave. Nothing will ever be as beautiful as that island. We will learn to adapt, to live our lives in this new land, although we will always be exiles. The memories of life on our island will always remain. We will treasure them forever.