“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”
~Henry Van Dyke
One of the strangest facets of loss is how it changes time.
You’d think time is a fairly straightforward measure. There are 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year. Those numbers can’t adequately measure the experience of the human heart flowing through time.
I have lived 45 years. Raised children for 21 years. Loved Bryan for 12 years. And have been on my own, without him, for one year. That 12 years with Bryan, one-fourth of my life, still defines me – my values, my home, my heart, my plans.
How can it be that the one year since losing him can feel like it was equally as long?
I remember, in the initial days, even month, following the initial shock of his passing, time behaved especially strangely. I had the strangest sensation of being frozen, like a fly in amber, like a pebble in a stream, as life rushed on around me.
The night hours stretched out like an eternity — every night was at least a week long. In the daylight hours when I’d try to rejoin life, I couldn’t keep up. I’d notice something, consider reaching for it in the current, and it’d be swept far past me by the time I moved.
There were times when I slowed my life down to match time’s flow. Sailing, flying under the sun at whatever speed the wind chose to take us, allowed time to catch up and life shifted into focus. Hiking on a beach or in the woods, time became my friend; the birds ignored the passing of the hours and the only rhythm was that of the sunrise and sunset.
But always, I had to return to real life, the fierce onrush of work, deadlines, errands, housework, bills, and I then I couldn’t stay synchronized, couldn’t keep up with the flow anymore.
Maybe this year my own personal time flow will speed up a little and match the world I must live in. Or, more sanely, maybe I can find a way to slow my world down to mesh with my life.
Goodbye my love, maybe for forever
Goodbye my love, the tide waits for me
Who knows when we shall meet again, if ever
But time keeps flowing like a river (on and on)
To the sea, to the sea
Till it’s gone forever
~Alan Parsons Project, “Time”