Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Time

Date: 
Monday, September 15, 2014
Posted By: 
Jeannine Love

Time is such a strange thing. We know that time is relative, that it is not a linear phenomenon. But in everyday experience the malleability of time often seems to slip past unnoticed. It’s odd the way grief can suddenly snap the strangeness of time into focus, playing games with the senses.

These days, for me, time rarely has that leaden feeling that came with new widowhood, and many days it again seems to slip through my fingers the way it once did—before death, before widowhood. But then, something comes along that draws my attention to the odd nature of time.

Earlier this week I was with others from CYWC and as we went around the room introducing ourselves, I found myself saying out loud, “I will have been widowed for two years next month.” I’ve made several statements about the “last two years” in passing lately, but that was the first time I had said those precise words out loud. And, before the sentence was out, I was choking back tears.

Actually, lately I’ve found myself in tears far more often than I have in quite a while. I don’t know if it’s the impending anniversary, the changing of seasons, the start of a new school year. Perhaps it’s all of it; transitions are always a difficult time, and fall brings several all at once for me. They remind me that time is slipping past, that yet another milestone is taking me further in time from my last moments with Aric.

Soon I will be entering my third year. Third. It sounds so strange in my head. How is it possible that Aric has been gone for so long, when he is so present in my heart and in my mind? I can still hear his voice, I can still feel his love. In the time and space of love, it is as if no time has passed since we were together, and yet in the everyday time of life it feels like forever since I’ve heard him laugh, felt his hand in mine, enjoyed the comfort of his presence.

It’s not merely that time expands and contracts, it seems to move in circles, folding in on itself. In one moment we are together, in a dream, in a memory—yet he is simultaneously incomprehensibly far away, in another lifetime, another dimension. The back and forth is hard on the heart, and in some ways it makes “moving forward” difficult, but at the same time also makes moving forward possible. Even in his absence, I know he is present.

Still, looking forward is not as difficult as it once was. The fog of grief no longer envelops me. But every now and then the strangeness of time seems to hold my heart in its grip, and in the overwhelming overlapping of then, now, and tomorrow, some days my heart feels as though it is folding in on itself. And, in those moments, all I can do is cry.

Comments

Your words really hit home with me. My husband passed away 9 months ago, and I guess I am still in that "fog of grief." I could never have imagined not having my husband with me for 9 days much less 9 months. Now the unimaginable is my reality. It helps to know others go through these transitions that I'm experiencing and how time seems to shift and overlap constantly between what was, what is and what is yet to be. Over the next month I will be dealing with our wedding anniversary as well as both of our birthdays and I can feel this strangeness of what it should be and what it will be weighing more and more on me. Thank you for sharing your own pain and so eloquently putting it into words.

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