There must be something strangely sacred about salt. It is in our tears and in the sea.Kahlil Gibran

Those of us who’ve suffered one or more devastating losses often describe grief as being like the ocean with pain and longing breaking over us in waves. At times, the sadness is overwhelming, and we feel as though we’re drowning. But over time, we learn to float, to keep our head above water. We begin to recognize when the big waves are coming and become better able to deal with them. Although we never escape the sadness, we learn to navigate the waters of grief and move forward into the life we create in the wake of our loss.

a panoramic photo of Pismo Beach at sunset

During my darkest days, I found that the wisdom and experience of other grievers helped me to re-enter the world. They showed me that life after the death of a beloved was possible, that I could begin to see beauty, find grace and feel hope, even joy. They helped me realize that love was all around me, and all I had to do was lean in.

At Salt Water, our community can help you find your equilibrium and begin to heal after an unbearable loss. As Barbara Kingsolver put it so beautifully in High Tide in Tucson:

What a stroke of luck. What a singular brute feat of outrageous fortune: to be born into citizenship in the animal kingdom. We love and we lose, go back to the start and do it right over again. For every heavy forebrain solemnly cataloguing the facts of a harsh landscape, there’s a rush of intuition behind it crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is.

We invite you to become part of our community. Share your story, ask a question, make a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

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Jimmy age 5 sitting behind Molly holding her right hand. Jimmy is wearing blue shorts and a white shirt; Molly, age 9 months, is wearing a yellow print onsie and yellow socks.

The Gift of Remembering

There is nothing I can say that will bring them back, all their bright futures spread before us, but I will stand here all the same with you, my heart broken open with yours and remember what we have lost. Brian Andreas, StoryPeople

Dan and Margo on their wedding day. Margo is on the left wearing a white gown with pink roses and white flowers in her hair; Dan is wearing a white shirt and pink tie.

You Have Made This Life For Me

Today for some reason, I see how short our lives actually are and how often I forget to look in your eyes and stop time entirely and say, You have made this life for me. Brian Andreas, StoryPeople

Dan in light blue pullover, Jimmy in orange shirt, Robin in light navy pullover and Willie in Florida Gators sweatshirt, all bald

What I Learned

Robin is Jimmy’s best friend Willie’s dad. Robin, his wife, Shelby and Willie were Jimmy’s second family. One of Jimmy’s favorite things to do on a Saturday night was to hang out at the Milam house playing Madden with Willie, eating Robin’s amazing meals and drinking Shelby’s signature milk shakes. Sometimes when a father grieves, […]

Laura Coleman, as a toddler with her mother. Laura is standing; her mother is sitting wearing a white sweater and tan pants.

Finding What I Left Behind

I sat across the table from my aunt and uncle, who had come to visit my mom. They had offered to take me out to dinner, and we were enjoying a lovely meal. “We want you to come to Hawaii and stay with us when this is all over,” said my aunt to me. “Thank […]

Jimmy, Drew and Willie at Jimmy's birthday party eating pizza

“No Ragrets”

Regret is normal in situations where you lose a loved one or someone close to you. It’s natural, and so easy to fall into thinking about things you wish you’d done, wish you’d said or that you regret doing. The mind too easily focuses on the negative because you are already in a dark place […]

Turquoise rowboat on sand with ocean and blue sky in the background

The Journey Into The Unknown

As human beings, we are defined at our cores by how we respond to hardship. Writing about the Crowleys has taught me that there isn’t one right way, but that each person must find her own path, drawing on her own unique strength, passion and resources … Knowing that each day may be their children’s […]

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