As a widow, my relationship with time is strained and worn.
In the past, I assumed that I had at least twenty more years with Mike, but I didn't.
He and I ran out of time.
There was simply not enough time.
For reasons I do not know or understand, we were not given more time together.
And, now, without him, there is too much time.
Too much time alone.
Too much time spent thinking about a better place in time.
Too much time wishing things were different.
Too much time thinking about how to recreate my life without him.
While there wasn't enough time for Mike and I, now there is too much time for me.
We observe daylight saving time change tonight and this is what has got me thinking about time. As a widow, so much of my existence revolves around time. For the first few months I counted his deadness in days. Then, as time continued, I began to count his death in both days and months. Somehow, after enduring the longest days and loneliest nights of my life, a year of time passed. After a year's time without Mike on Earth, I began to count his death in months only. Then, after another year of widowhood, I reached the two year milestone without him. At this point, I stopped counting altogether. What did it matter. Keeping track of the days and months he was dead did not bring him back to life. Mike died. He is gone from here and no amount of minutes and hours and days and months will change this. Time goes on without him.
For me, as a widow, I am consumed with time. Time is both friend and foe. Time is my friend because although it does not heal me; time does soften the edges of my grief. Time allows me to practice accepting that his death is real and permanent. This may seem obvious, but in the hours and weeks following Mike’s death I literally wandered around clutching my heart asking anyone who was nearby “is this real?”. No one answered me. I think they were afraid to. I think they thought I might die if they told me the truth... With sudden death, I believe that we need lots and lots of time to accept the realness of the situation. For many months, and even now, after more than two years time, sometimes I still can not believe that he really died. And, in order to wholly accept the permanence of Mike’s death I will need even further time, and in this sense time is my ally.
And, concurrently, time is also my foe for many reasons. Often, I find myself lost in another place in time. Daily, I spend hours replaying the memories of our shared life in my mind. I lose time here, in this reality, because I spend too much time lost in my thoughts about the past. A past where Mike existed. Grief is stealing me away from time in the present time.
And, further, although I know it is not good practice, I still measure my progress in grief against time. I know full well that time, in and of itself, does not fix grief. Yet, I still measure my progress according to time. This said, I know that time alone can not heal me. I am not sure one can actually heal from this per sae. Grief needs to run it’s course. And, after some time, I have realized that my grief will likely take my entire lifetime to absorb and process.
I am here. Mike is not. That is the reality of this mess. And, the beauty of the situation is that where he is there is no time. This must be liberating for him because the constructs of time are very restricting. And, as I have said, even though I know better, I often measure my wellness as a widow against time. Sometimes, I feel like a failure because I think I should feel a certain way now because it has been two years and a handful of months since he died. Moving forward, I need to take each day as it comes. Time is irrelevant where Mike is and I am learning that it is also irrelevant in grief. So, in that way we are still experiencing one of the same.
Time changes nothing, and time changes everything,