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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tick. Tock.

Excerpts from Time, by Sarah McLachlan

Time here,
all but means nothing, just shadows that move across the wall
They keep me company, but they don't ask of me
they don't say nothing at all.
And I need just a little more silence
And I need just a little more time

Time is a funny thing for us grievers. Things that happened right after Andie died seem like years ago to me, that is, if I even remember them at all. Just yesterday my brother-in-law reminded me that Andie’s whole family had gone to Oklahoma not long after he died to see the extended family. Until my brother-in-law brought it up yesterday, I had completely forgotten that it occurred. And then when I thought about it, I could’ve sworn they took that trip over a year ago- long before Andie died. And yet, it seems like just a few months ago that I was giving birth to twins and we were learning about diapers, bottles, and sleep schedules.

There is a time warp around grief that is truly disorienting. I think to the griever, life literally stops and then when we “wake up” for a moment or two we see that the world has continued to move on and we have to suddenly catch up. So we end up jumping through time. It reminds me of the book I read in middle school called “A Wrinkle in Time” and the ant on a string illustration below. It will take the ant much longer to walk "through time" than if you just put a wrinkle in it and he gets to skip ahead...

Most people’s timelines are flat and continuous, and move at a relatively steady pace. But to a griever, there are many wrinkles in our timeline. Times we seem to skip over and move through events at warp speed; so quickly they don’t even register in the psyche and leave a trace of memory. Then the timeline smooths out again and we’re back to crawling through time where every second seems like it is in the forefront of consciousness.

We widows measure everything by milestones- there are a lot of firsts. The first day, week, month, and year. The first holiday, birthday, anniversary, kid’s birthday, our own birthday. The first time to visit that special place, first time we cook his favorite meal, go to his favorite restaurant, hear a special song. The first time we wash the sheets and lose his scent, or the first time we take off the wedding ring. The first time we check the “widowed” box on some form, the first time we have to figure out a new emergency contact on paperwork, the first time we have to answer the “what does your husband do?” question while making small talk. The first Christmas card pictures without him in it. The first time we don’t buy his favorite snacks at the store because he’s not home to eat them. The first time we make a major life decision on our own without his input, the first time we have to explain it all to our children. The list goes on and on endlessly.

So far I’ve made it through my own 30th birthday, my kids’ 1st birthday, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving…but I hardly remember any of them. They’re all a blur. Seriously, how did I manage to get invitations made and plan a birthday party for the twins a mere 6 weeks after he died?

I’m coming up on the 6 month anniversary which seems monumental to me. Half a year without him. There is simply NO WAY that he’s been gone that long. More like 6 weeks in my warped existence. I get anxious when I think how much time has already passed because it’s going too quickly. Time keeps moving and I don’t want it to- and it’s taking my girls with it. They are growing and changing too much, too soon, and I feel like I can’t savor it. I can’t appreciate it because I’m not really here experiencing it all. I’m just going through the motions- I’m merely existing and not really living. I try often to be present and engaged, especially with them, but most of the time I’m emotionally drained and simply don’t have the energy. I. Just. Need. More. Time.

But alas, time marches on…

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