So, today I am talking to a friend of mine who checks in on me periodically. He asks me how I’m doing and I’m faced with that dilemma again. Do I give the quick “I’m doing OK.” answer or do I tell the truth? The truth I’m speaking of is the one that has got to be wearing thin on everyone around me, because it’s sure wearing thin on me.
I give a quick answer, then switch the subject to his family. He has two boys in their early teens. They are on spring break and a family trip. I’m envious of those days. I tell him, like people used to tell me, to enjoy every moment of that time. Soak it up. Cherish it. There it is again. Time. Time is on my mind all of the time now. There were years of my life when I wished my life away. The time could not go fast enough. Then, there were the years where I would listen to Jim Croce’s “Time In A Bottle” and wish I could literally package those years up and keep them with me forever. I’m back in the days when time cannot go fast enough again. I’ve made my memories. I can’t make any more with Shayna. I’m ready for this time to be over.
Facebook pops up memories from this day in history. The two year anniversary of Shayna’s passing is coming up in three months. Just like when you have a baby, I started measuring the time in days, then it was weeks, then months. Now, I have to think about how many months it’s been before I can answer. For the last couple of months it’s been “just short of two years”. I’ve begun measuring the time in years. Memories of Shayna are especially precious because there will be no more made. Today, I look at one that is from two years ago. It was a visit Shayna and I made to Taco Bell, just the two of us. Tywana wouldn’t eat there. Kayla was in college. Shayna was enjoying her turn at being the only child for a few years. I remember the day well. I remember Shayna being thrilled with the Dorito flavored taco shell. We were both so full of joy. I stare at the picture and cannot not wrap my mind around the fact that was “just” two years ago. Something must be wrong. Surely that was three years ago. No. It was just two years ago and neither of us had any idea we only had a few weeks left together here.
Objectively, time always passes at the same rate, but subjectively, it can distort tremendously. Twenty minutes sitting in meditation can feel like a very long time on some days. It passes quickly on others. Twenty minutes when I wake up early in the morning and don’t want to get up to face the day, when I’m begging the clock to just stop moving and let me stay here where it’s safe and dark and warm, goes by in the blink of an eye.
When Shayna passed, I could not imagine making it two years. I could not imagine making it two weeks. I didn’t want to. People talked of healing. I didn’t want healing. Healing seemed too much like forgetting. I just wanted to be with her- NOW. Frankly, healing still seems like forgetting. I’m surrounded by parents going through grief now. I’m in an organization called Helping Parents Heal. I see parents who seem to have healed or at least are healing. I can’t say if or when I will ever heal. The memories are all packed away in the bottle. I wish I had a fast forward button.