About the ocean and waves and grief and rage…

Being with our emotions — no matter what

Ronna Detrick
4 min readJul 13, 2022


Photo by Yousef Espanioly on Unsplash

I’ve spent a lot of time at the beach lately. As soon as we arrive, my 9-year-old niece Grace, runs to the water, her dad not far behind. And there she stays — for hours — letting the waves carry her or crash into her; she doesn’t care which. All she wants is to be as “in them” as much as she possibly can.

Me? Not so much. I’m more of a shore girl. I position my reclining chair just so — making sure I directly face the sun. I rummage through the huge bag I’ve brought with me for a towel, sunglasses, my Diet Coke, and maybe (sometimes) the sunscreen. It’s hot and I’m restless. I get out my phone, but the glare of the sun is too bright to read the screen. I dig for the book I brought, but then decide that the white pages are going to hurt my eyes. So I watch Grace — out there in the water — while I try and sit still in the sand.

I wonder about this: the chosen “safety” of the shore, the restlessness that sometimes overwhelms, the seeming-inability to just be, to let the waves carry me or crash into me, to let myself feel all of it. (I’m not talking about the water or the beach anymore; rather, about emotions.)

This business of “being” with our emotions — whether they carry us, crash into us, or both — is hard.

Life is hard! And right now? When everything feels out of control, when bad stuff happens to good people, when wars persist, when Supreme Court rulings are overturned, when school shootings occur yet again, when the NRA meets anyway, when the most paid-attention to news is about a celebrity…it is WAY easier to think about all of these things than to feel them.

Our emotions are overwhelming. Too much, even. We don’t know what to do with all that we feel, so not feeling seems a better and maybe even safer/saner alternative. It’s like picking the beach chair over the waves. Slightly more stable. A bit easier to control. A known entity.

Still, those waves, the power of the ocean, being small in something so very big, letting go…It pulls at me sometimes. Like the tide.

When I first began working with a therapist, it wasn’t long before he asked, “When do you grieve, Ronna? How do you rage?” (Notice: not…



Ronna Detrick

I work and write on behalf of women and their re-visioned stories. These days you can find me on Substack.