Friday, November 12, 2010

Swimming Through Grief

I joined our community's indoor pool.

I used to swim. A lot.

I was nervous when I entered the Ladies Locker room today. I hadn't done any lap swimming for many  years.

I had my brand new Speedo swim suit (modest cut) on. I had a brand new Speedo swim cap and goggles.

I stowed all my stuff in a locker and wrapping a towel around me followed the signs to the indoor pool. Six lanes were marked off for lap swimmers. Three were occupied. I choose lane #5.

The air was warm but the water was cold. I eased myself into the five foot deep water, did some stretching and looked around. The teenage lifeguard looked bored. The other swimmers were deep into their own exercise routine.

I pushed off from the side and glided easily into the water. One stroke, two. It all came back. Freestyle, Breast Stroke, Backstroke, Butterfly, rest. Side Stroke. Ease back into freestyle. Breathe. No one was watching. Everyone was occupied with their own rhythm, their own strokes.

Four laps, five. Ten. Fifteen. My heart was beating out of my chest. I remembered to kick. To breathe. To ease into each stroke. My body remembered. My brain went into autopilot. Stroke. Breathe. Kick.

The water eased over me and through me. I forgot about everything. Time. Grief. Loneliness. Stroke, Breathe. Kick. Turn. Another lap.

Fifteen minutes passed, thirty minutes passed. I swam. I breathed. Twenty laps.

When finally my legs were shaking, my shoulder aching and I could barely raise my arms over my head I climbed out of the pool.

I am swimming through grief. I am going back tomorrow.


  1. Swimming will be so good for you, in so many ways. And your description of sliding into and through the water makes me wish I were a swimmer too, but I never could get the hang of it. Instead of stroke, glide, breathe, etc., it's chop, choke, sputter. :-)

  2. We seem to be doing the same things. I too went to the indoor pool for the first time in a year or more. I only glide. Breast stroke, side stroke, fool around a bit, do a dolphin roll or two, tread water, look at people, check out the lifeguard (yes they always look bored, but I think bored at the pool is good - you certainly don't want any excitment!).

    I did nowhere near the laps you did. Just stayed in the water for 20 minutes. That's all I could handle, as I knew any more and I'd be sore the next day. Well, I was sore anyway, but vow to go back once a week. I'm still walking a lot too, even though it's cold outside, but I just can't seem to stop. I walk at least 3 times a day - walking through or maybe trying to outrun my grief.
    Sending hugs and prayers your way.
    p.s. I love the soothing effect water, especially deep water has on me.

  3. My pool is closed for the season, but I love getting in first thing in the morning before anyone is up and about ......... water therapy.

  4. Is there a nice hot tub to soothe your achy muscles?

    I do not know how to swim. Yes I can float on my back and I can sort of tread water (dog paddle?) but other than that.....I can't swim at all. I've always wanted to learn but am now too fat to get into a swimsuit and even more....too cheap to pay someone to teach me.

  5. This is a great idea. Seriously. Swimming is so Zen. I used to swim also. Maybe I will again - you've encouraged me. Remind sometime to tell you why I quit.

  6. Therapy. You never know what form it will take. Swim on.

  7. wow 20 laps in the first session is impressive, it took me ages to build up to 1km when i did swim a long time ago, but this soounds very therapeutic- hope the water takes all your sorrow and you breathe again xx

  8. You certainly are an impressive lady with many talents. I never got very good at swimming on top of the water. I could always swim from one side to the other under the water but had to be in shallow enough water to get on my feet if I needed to. Wish I could have done better but it never happened. I am so glad you have found something you love that can take your mind of unpleasant things if for only a half hour or so. And of course the exercize will do you a lot of good as well. Have a fabulous weekend.

  9. I'm a swimmer at heart...I think this will be so good for you. Go Good Cook!!

  10. Wow, twenty laps! Good for you! I love to swim and swim daily, from April through October because I'm lucky enough to have a pool. It's great exercise and very therapeutic.

  11. Swimming is so good for you! Glad you're enjoying it.

  12. All I can say, GC, is this post is GREAT!

  13. I swam a lot this summer. I have not figured out what to do now that the pool is closed for the season. After reading your post I think I need to join an indoor pool. Thank you.

  14. I really love this. You're inspiring.

  15. You are a wise woman. More than you may even realize.


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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