You’re walking barefoot along the beach, enjoying a nice stroll just at the waterline, lulled into a mild trance by the ebbing and flowing of the waves. Every now and then, you get hit with one of those waves that creeps further up the beach than you expected, foaming water rushing past your bare ankles. All of a sudden, you get knocked on your ass by an unusually strong one. Forget getting up, there’s no gaining a foothold. You try to fight it, but you start to sputter and drown each time you go against it. You get exhausted. There’s no getting back to the beach on your own, and though you look, you don’t see David Hasselhoff jumping head first off a moving speedboat (in slow motion) to pull you out. So what do you do? You eventually just give in, let this ride take you wherever it feels like. You’re at the mercy of the undertow.
Back in the real world, this looks like a whole lot of emotion. Your strolls along the beach are merely everyday activities you used to do without batting an eye. Time to go to an award ceremony for Caleb, sweet. You arrive, take your seat, and realize you were in this spot last year, sitting next to her, discussing where you’re taking the boys for dinner to celebrate. Cancer? What cancer? One ticket for the undertow. You’re sitting in a work meeting, one at which she was a regular participant when you worked together. Four families are on the team’s agenda for whom she was the social worker. Are you kidding me? Oh look, you’re getting pulled out. Hey, you have a great idea. Even though she’s not here for your 16th anniversary, you want to take time to select the perfect card for her, to still honor the date. Deep down you hope her light is piercing the darkness somewhere in the cosmos, that your gesture will reach her. You take a field trip to the Hallmark store. Seriously, how did you not see that one coming? Quickly now, pay and get back to the car before this undertow experience starts freaking out the nice Hallmark ladies. Where in the hell is Hasselhoff, that worthless meathead?
So you do this over and over. You eventually figure out that the undertow is nice enough to deposit you back on the beach each time. And, you learn to get up each time, wipe some of the sand off, and keep making your way down the beach. Real world translation: you wipe the snot out of your mustache and dry your eyes. Maybe one of your boys comes up to you, “You okay, dad?” “Yeah, I just really miss mom right now.” “Yeah, me too.” Time to take a stroll.