By Katy Hoover
As I write, I sit at Crown Plaza Lounge, sipping a glass of Riesling and remembering. I look over the ocean that gave me so much. Knowing that the vast coastline with the ever-changing tides mirrored my moods and soothed my grief as I experienced the comfort of the God I had grown up with, but no longer understood. Our creator God who made the oceans and the sky, who had been with me through so many years would be with me as I processed the traumatic death of my son Kody; even when I could not say His name.
Into the Fog
Onto the pier and into the dense fog
Knowing that although the going to and the coming from are unseen
And I cannot tell from the surroundings which is which
One step at a time will take me to the promenade where I will continue to walk.
My body calms as I walk into the unknown
In this space, I know only the step ahead
I trust I will see the next, as I need to take it
In this liminal fog, I begin to relax
I can’t know the future
Although I want to
I feel safe
In this limited experience
I never planned to write a Book as I walked the beaches and wrote my process in freestyle poetry. I shared with strangers and some, with those friends and family who were very close. I kept my world small during the early years.
As I shared, I was asked to publish. The thought of others interpreting such personal private thoughts made me uncomfortable. But comments like, “your words calm me.” “I saw so much of my own journey…. Thank you for sharing.” “What helps? Only your words.”
I realized that I needed to hear from others who had walked this unwanted path and not only survived but have joy in their lives again. Now I can help others. As I shared my experience, I realized that we all experience loss. It may not be the same loss, but as my dear friend and mentor Lelda said as she was nearing her death and the twin towers came down, “The worst pain is always your own.”
Changing Tides is not a, “How to” book, or a, “step by step instruction” but a memoir, of sorts in poetry-story-form. The photography takes you into the healing, given from the natural world. I call the, ”thin space”.
By the lake or ocean,
There is a
Clarity of thought, direction
Of the Spirit
A phrase, a feeling
In a dream, in the periphery
In the thin space
Between the here and now
Grief is often complicated by accumulation. Or triggered again, bringing the full weight of emotion back months or years later.
I saw it
A construction site.
Freshly grated soil
A water truck
driving up and down
Watering the soil.
Abating the dust
Anger, sorrow, grief
all it would have taken
To save my son’s life
Grief from lifechanging loss does not just go away. You don’t get over it or recover from it, but it does shift; it goes from your first thought; the thing that occupies every emotion and all else is an interruption of, to the background. It can be, “put down” you can rest, catch your breath and choose joy.
Kody’s widow sent
An ultrasound image
Of their precious unborn daughter
As I looked at this miracle of life
I experienced pure joy
In that moment I knew that I had a choice
To mentally review all the reasons
That made her life bittersweet
Or to choose…..Joy
I decided in that split second,
To hold on to joy for as long as I could
Until You’re Ready
Picking up the reusable bag
It was so heavy
It felt good
To put substance to our feelings
We passed it back and forth
As we walked to the car
To lay it down
It has been 5 years since my son died. I still miss him. I am sometimes triggered back to that first pain. But mostly, my life is good. I have so much to be thankful for. I enjoy my children and my grandchildren. I have fallen in love with my sweetest friend.
I pick up Changing Tides to remember the comfort that I felt in those early years.
I do Talk to God and call Him Father or Jesus. But I will never be the same. Some of the change is good, Some maybe not. I try not to judge myself or others too harshly. I realize this life is unpredictable. I accept that life will include deep sorrow and great joy; that my heart is big enough for both.
I hope that you will read: Changing Tides: Poetry of Love Loss and New Life. That it will comfort you where you hurt.
Katy Hoover Is a mother, a grandmother, a nurse who has worked with the dying and watched others heal. She developed and taught bereavement to her Hospice team, as director of healthcare services. She has worked with abused women and human trafficking survivor, speaking on trafficking, recovery and coached others on writing their stories.
Katy loves to be in the beauty of nature especially near an ocean, lake or river. She loves being with people from many perspectives, cultures and nations. She is a Christ follower, a poet, and photographer. Changing Tides is her first book.