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How Grief Has Changed My Perception of Time


When my grandson Konnor died, I felt as if time should have stood still. If not stopped, then the earth may have shuddered, paused on its axis. I could have felt the earth shift in the very sudden stillness of it at that very moment I was told of his death. Konnor is gone, the earth stopped moving. I could swear it to be true. Time stopped at that very moment.

Although everyone around me kept moving, I felt everything and everyone should have just frozen in time. I cannot for the life of me figure out why this is. Why I felt like the world should have stopped for my grief. I did not want that moment in time to remain still. I want the moments of Konnor alive to be stopped in time. I wanted him back. To keep him with me like moving pictures, only real life. A replay of scenes like they show you in the movies when someone is remembering moments of time, a do-over of time. Not enough time.

Moments of my life replay before me over and over as if in a dream. Let him be sitting beside me, smiling up at me. I want to turn back the clock.

Time is such a precious gift. More so when we have no idea how little of it we have to treasure. I think about my life now, void of my children except one. My three daughters all grown and out of the house and on their own. I don’t see them enough. There never seems to be enough time to spend with them. My son is the only one left at home with me. I know I smother him. I can’t help it. They were home and in the blink of an eye they are gone. I ask myself, “Did I hug them enough?” “Did I tell them I love them enough?” God forbid I leave this earth and they should ever question my love for them. There should be no cause for doubt. I will tell them time and time again.

They speak of death on the news. Every day people go to a concert or out for a walk on a summer night not expecting to be met with death. They may be a teenager or a woman my age and they go to sleep, never suspecting they will never wake up. Time has stopped for them. Somehow it must keep moving forward for those left in their wake. Time is ticking in tune with the beating of our hearts. Ultimately, it stops without warning. We never know when our time comes.

There is an aura in the air after such a tragedy as the death of a child. It’s almost indescribable. There is a heaviness in the air, a bittersweet mist of sadness. Although the sun will shine at times, it can feel like a mockery, like it shines for those who know nothing of what the day could truly hold. It can feel like the clock ticks slower for us. Yet somehow the pages of a newspaper seem to curl up and yellow faster. It doesn’t make sense. But it does. Time stands still, yet the world keeps turning.

We speed through life, rush to obtain all we can. Struggle to find what may bring us happiness. Such a shame that only in time do we learn it is in each other we find true happiness and love. Not in possessions or what items we hold in our hands but what bodies we hold close to our hearts. We need not waste more precious time with remorse. Love is stronger and more forgiving. Time waits for no one.

I still feel stuck in time since we lost Konnor. I long to go back and fix it. I am unable to comprehend the amount of time that has ticked by since he left us. I live in fear of losing someone else. I fear of dying in my sleep and leaving my son alone to fend for himself before he is ready to be on his own. I know I cannot live in fear. I can’t go back in time. I am trying to live a more meaningful life. It does not matter what surrounds me, only what is within me. The world keeps turning and the clock keeping ticking. I want to live before I run out of time.

“One of the realities of grief and loss is that the rest of the world seems to keep on going forward, while we feel like we have been stopped in our tracks.” — Alan Wolfelt

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Thinkstock image by BrianAJackson