As I come back into the neighborhood today, as always, I notice the purple ribbons that the neighborhood girls put up to mark Shayna’s death. I can say the word death now. For a long time I had to use “passing” or “transition” because the word death has such a negative connotation. But, as I’ve fully embrace death is just another word for a transition and we don’t truly die, the word has lost its sting. Christmas Eve is six months to the day from the day Shayna passed from this life into the next life.
Even as the Christmas decorations went up at the neighborhood entrances the purple ribbons are still there. And many of our neighbors still have them on their mailboxes and around their trees. It’s always bittersweet when I see them as I’m out for a run or when I’m driving back into the neighborhood. The fact that our neighbors would put them up in the first place was humbling enough. The fact that so many people have kept them up for what is exactly six months now is astonishing. I pray a little prayer of gratitude each time I pass one. Anyone reading this, know that Ty and I both still notice your gestures of solidarity and we are most grateful. A neighbor is out for a walk with her dog and passes our house I think most days. She stops to tell Ty and me that every time she passes the house, she prays for us. Wow.
Time, time, time…. the ribbons are a reminder of the passage of time. Some of them are starting to fade a bit. It has been six months after all. I’m grateful for the fading. I cheer the fading. Time is something I have difficulty with and I think many of us do. The physicists are beginning to tell us time is just an illusion. This is a concept I cannot grasp or can only grasp fleetingly. If time is an illusion it sure feels real. Time, for most of us is an enemy in the sense that we never think we have enough of it. We see our bodies aging, we see things changing and it’s a reminder that our time on this Earth is limited. After a brief period in childhood where we all way to be adults (oh how foolish we are), we want to slow it down. The more we age, the more we want to slow it down. So, we try to cheat time. We chase the Fountain of Youth. We dye our hair, we bleach our teeth, we get face lifts. Anything to avoid admitting to ourselves that time is running out. We’ll do anything, anything for another year, day, second. Time is not my enemy in that way anymore, but time is still an an enemy in another way. Nothing will keep me separated from Shayna, but for the moment, time has won a battle. Time, I have news for you. You will not win the war. You stand between us. Only time separates us. But, Time’s defeat is inevitable. Time can’t help but pass. And every day, as those ribbons fade, as the seasons change, as my beard gets more white hairs in it, I am one day closer to my victory.