The passage of time used to be heard in the clocks that filled rooms… the tick… tick… tick.. of the second hand as it made its way around the circle of numbers. Or the chiming of the grandfather clock that declared another hour had passed. Now, time silently slips by without those auditory reminders. Yet, it is felt with each beat of my heart.
Yesterday I was given a truth that dispels the oft used phrased, “Time heals all wounds.” Time does not heal all wounds, I was told. Hearing those words from a man who a few years ago buried his wife of many decades was much needed, because it lifted the weight of expectation from my shoulders. He called it myth one of grieving.
Time… every second of every day reminds me of a void that will never be filled. I awake with her, I carry her throughout the day, I fall asleep with her. There is no analogy that can be used to describe the ache that is felt in every fiber of my being with her absence. Images flood my mind, songs fill my ears, flashbacks brings me to my knees.
Death is a part of life, but her death brought more than just a physical absence. It is the death of all the plans we had. It is the death of the name she had already selected for her little girl that is no longer to be. It is the death of a part of me that will be never be brought back to life. It is the death of hope because time is no more for her, for us, for our family.
If an analogy is to be used, I suppose it is like a category six hurricane. Suicide is really a “stops-you-in-c(s)ide” type of death. It is assumed or accepted that it is just that moment, when the truth is it is all the moments that led to that one event. For us, it was 14 years of moments, 14 years of being in a hurricane. In the aftermath, even though the sun eventually shines and the ski clears, the carnage is there. The physical pieces are picked up, but the internal pieces are still scattered to the ends of the earth. How do I describe this? How am I to respond when the words of a supposed loved one are spoken, “You are not the only one to lose someone.” Those words alone minimize, reduce the carnage to a bag of trash that needs only to be tossed into the bin and taken to the dump. Then it will be okay. How do I explain to that person how devastating those words are and how they sever any ties that bind? How do I describe that suicide is not like other deaths? How do I describe finding our daughter, the person I carried for nine months, gave birth to, nursed, cared for, watched take her first steps, and all the moments between birth and finding her lifeless body in our home? How do I describe that I am angry with her, yet I love her and understand? How do I describe the feeling of not doing enough even if that defies reality?
The proverbial, “be strong.” I know not what that means either. How do I explain to those who have perceived me one way that I am not that at all? How do I describe the heart-crushing pain that exists in every part of me, and strength is an illusive ghost? How do I describe that when asked, “How are you?” I want to scream, because while the word “okay” forms, I really just want to cry, but the perception of strength must remain? How do I explain I am not okay and I do not know if I ever will be okay again?
How do I describe the roller-coaster of emotions. Just when I think I am going to be okay… a wave knocks me down, leaving me struggling to get back up, and then the times when I don’t want to get back up, that I really just want to let the waves consume me? How do I describe that only our son keeps me going? It is not a crisis of faith, because I know where our daughter is; it is a crisis of pain. There’s a difference.
How do I describe that time does not heal all wounds, and how grateful I am for the person who told me it really is just a myth?
How do I put into words that all I really want is just a hug, one hug… time… the passage of time… how do I explain that I really do not know just where this road of time will take me? This is not eloquent, it is not meant to be; nor is it meant to elicit responses. Time… it is not forever; while it continues, it does stop for each of us. I was not prepared for her time to so violently end, but I suppose no one is ever truly prepared when that moment in time enters the door of the heart.