Is Time Relevant in Grief?
“is TIME even relevant during grief?”
Kylee wrote those words as the clock struck midnight and the date turned to the ’11th’, reaching the 6month mark since we lost Dom.
I have learned so much and so little in these last 6months. I am, like many, overwhelmed by the incredible grace by which Kylee has walked through the dark moments. We have seen beauty buried in the ashes of dreams, occasionally uncovered for us to marvel at.
Something in grief, something in suffering, something in our lament, is so holy it feels as though heaven is ripped open and all the rawness of this life lays before us in a way that is entirely inaccessible under other circumstances. So raw it makes me sick because I never want to feel this way again. And yet I don’t want to close off to the love that leaves us vulnerable to the possibility of life-altering tragedy.
Through deep loss, we feel, we see, we know. We are more human and more fragile. We are hardened and strength, we are broken and softened.
I cried over the Malaysia Airlines flight disappearance. The news makes my hear ache these days, filled up and brimming over. All those people, all those families, forever changed by loss. Like Syria, and Ukraine, and the little girl struck by a truck as I cycled by. The reality of hardship and heartache can consume.
And Time, it matters and it doesn’t.
I have been working to learn the slow and unconventional letting go of expectations. Letting go of where we need to be in our grief, or in our life for that matter. Fighting the need to rush, to be busy, to be happy, to be useful.
When the grief crashes over, I sit in it. I let it be. I think about Dom. About Kylee. About tiny Donovan. I look at photos and send sms’ and read.
When I feel good and joyful and at peace, I sit in it. When walking in the sun and the warmth of spring reaches out to embrace, I let it. I deconstruct the need to feel guilty when I am not sad.
There is no time that will heal the loss of her husband. There is no time that will heal the loss of her child. There is no time that will heal his parents, or us his friends. We now have, to varying extents, the ‘Dom loss’ that will only heal outside of time, when the not-yet finally comes to pass, and we know all that could have been in a world without grief. Until then, time does not heal. It lessens certain blows, but it also increases them.
The rawness of love and grace, that was poured out in those first days, fades. Just like the rawness of pure shock and horror that pounded every inch of our bodies in those first days.
In their place lie unexpected moments; unexpected grace, unexpected grief. Consumed by the steady beat of a new reality. Circling around and around a fish bowl, only to find the same spot, over and over. Sometimes the circles go by quickly, sometimes more slowly. Always bringing us back to the stinging reality that we have lost.
For her it may come when he does not walk through the door after a long day of work. Perhaps for someone else it comes when there is no skype call. Or Friday evening beer. For me it hits hardest when I am remembering trips to Canada, every.single.trip. contains Dom, the contrast of what a future without our friendship holds, can be immobilising.
And so Time is relevant. Past and present, moving forward, looking back. It marches us forward, like it or not.
And so Time is not relevant, because the past reminds us of what we have not in the present. It moves us forward when we are not ready, it shifts memories when we look back.
Some wounds do heal with time, but some injuries are more an amputation, and the phantom feeling of our loved one will not fade, no matter how much time goes by. It may shift as we age but we know it will always be a part of who we are.
6months. And in another 6months. And in 6years and all the days we walk this earth, until the day we are gathered together again.
Maybe that was something I missed before this, in other peoples journey, it was not so easy to be full of grace to their balancing act of grief and time until you find yourself or someone you love trapped in it as well.
I pray on this 6month mark of our loss, that we remember to extend our arms in love to my friend, but also to the journey that others are walking. That grace, like our grief, would change us, crash over us, consume us. And that everytime we say #DomLivesOn it would remind of us of eternal life and reunion where moments missed now can one day be redeemed.