Is twenty-five weeks a long time or a little time? I haven’t a clue. All I know is that twenty-five weeks ago my life mate — my soul mate — died of inoperable kidney cancer, and I am still learning to deal with his absence. Sometimes it seems as if he’s been gone forever, and other times it feels as if he just left, as if I should be able to reach out, hold him in my arms, and keep him safe. Strange, that — I couldn’t stop his dying when he was living it. I certainly can’t stop it now that he is gone.
When I was a child, twenty-five weeks seemed a lifetime, especially if I was counting down to Christmas or summer vacation. When the weight of age began settling on my shoulders, twenty-five weeks went by in a flash. Or at least they used to. Now weeks stop and go, dam and flow, and I no longer have a concept of time, perhaps because the passing weeks are not relative to anything but his death and my loss.
Even the future seems long and short by turns. I think of growing old by myself, of learning to live with the limitations aging will bring, and ultimately of dying alone, and the coming years seem long. Yet those same years will still be full of life, maybe even happiness, which will make them feel short.
I do know that twenty-five weeks is a long time when it comes to feeling lost, alone, and confused by this major change — both his and mine. (I am very confused by his death. I worry about him still, feel sad for what he is missing, glad he is beyond pain.) At the same time, twenty-five weeks is way too short to even begin to process all that this experience means and will mean.
So, is twenty-five weeks a long time or a little time? I haven’t a clue.
September 18, 2010 at 8:23 pm
It’s strange the way time becomes so distorted when death enters into the picture. I am sorry for your loss. 25 weeks is not a long time but it’s a lifetime ago. This time warp seems like it takes about 2 years to get through. At least for me.
September 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm
Lauren, time warp is a good description. It’s good to know that time will eventually behave properly again.
September 18, 2010 at 9:49 pm
When you read Wikipedia for a definition of time you get, “Time has been defined as the continuum in which events occur in succession from the past to the present and on to the future.” It sounds very straightforward… time marches along… except we all know time has a way of speeding up or slowing down for us, according to circumstances. Twenty-five weeks is almost half a year, which may be significant for some people but it doesn’t mean anything in grief’s timetable.
Blessings to you as you carry on.
September 19, 2010 at 5:41 pm
Carol, since time is a continuum, the time of grief is the successer of the past and the predecessor of the future. Although that can be said of all things that happen this day, it seems most obvious with grief — it’s an interim, an interval of life that seems to exist all on it’s own. No wonder it feels like a time warp. It is.
September 19, 2010 at 5:24 pm
I think maybe…time responds to us. And that time warp is tempory but also necessary to give space to grieve and gradually heal. Its length in outward measurement is unimportant as long as the griever isnt stuck.
September 19, 2010 at 5:36 pm
Leesis, I think you’re right about the time warp giving space to heal. Grief is such an immense undertaking, normal hours are not nearly big enough to encompass it all.
September 19, 2010 at 5:53 pm
This is a great post. One that will be so helpful to those who are in the same place as you.
One really terrific thing I’ve found out, heard actually, is, “It takes as long as it takes.” When I heard it, it was in reference to something else entirely. But I now apply it to everything. Everything takes exactly as long as it should take, for the individual. There is no right length of time to suffer grief, it’s neither too long or too short… it is what it is.
Personally, as I’ve watched you handle your grief, I’m moved to admire the way you acknowledge it, let it wash over you and handle it’s passage. You’re doing what’s right for you and what’s rght for you life, both the one you had with J and the one you’ll lead now, without him.
September 20, 2010 at 1:47 pm
Time doesn’t exist in grief. Right now 25 weeks will feel more like 25 years, but a year from now it will seem much shorter.
September 20, 2010 at 7:26 pm
Time, for me, expands and contracts depending on my activities and emotions. As you speak of your feelings at 25 weeks, I’m thinking of my father in law who lost his wife 3 weeks ago. It must seem to him like moments ago.
P.S. Have you looked at the Journey of Hearts site at http://www.journeyofhearts.org/ for perspectives of dealing with grief?
September 28, 2010 at 12:02 pm
23 weeks ago I lost a pregnancy. Some days it feels like years ago, some day it feels like it was just yesterday, some days I can lay in bed and close my eyes and feel like that baby is still growing inside me. “Time shrinks and expands in proportion to ones courage.” I don’t remember who said that but I think it’s true. The grief over that loss, for me, has at times felt very sharp and near to my heart, and at times healthily expanded alongside all the other unknowns that exist in a lifetime. And I think it is that way forever. Not in a hopeless way… but in an integrative way. As much as I’ve tried to set a time limit on my own recovery, I’ve been recognizing again and again that loss is not something you recover from. Yes it heals, yes it becomes more possible to live from day to day as time goes on… but the loss from my miscarriage will always be a part of me. I will never be a person who does not know the loss of a potential life. You will always have a place in your heart that is reserved for the man you lost. I’m struck by the reality of that over and over again.
I’m trying to think of a way to leave this comment on a more uplifting note… but this is still something I’m working through myself… so all I can think right now is that my hope is that for those of us who live through a loss like that… that we are able to integrate. Not sink into hopelessness, but not detach. Be encouraged into hope and love the existence that was. Still be able to see past grief and into potentiality.
I’m so sorry for what happened.
September 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm
It sounds to me as if you are a very wise and very strong woman. You will find the necessary love, forgiveness, curiosity, and strength to keep moving forward. Especially curiosity. I’ve found it to be a good motivator, wondering what will become of me and my life.
Sending you warm thoughts.
September 28, 2010 at 1:05 pm
[…] write another quick post based off the thoughts her writing spurred in me. It started with this post, to which I left this comment: 23 weeks ago I lost a pregnancy. Some days it feels like years ago, […]
September 29, 2010 at 5:50 am
time wiil heal u completely
someday evth will be fine…
and u should be ok at that time
December 7, 2016 at 8:19 pm
I feel like I am living in two different time lines between grief and the rest of life. The grief timeline is not at all in synch with my parallel life — work, friends, everyday tasks and events. The grief time line is not a constant tick of seconds, minutes, hours, or days. Rather it is a whirling, swirling, compacted, elongated, inconsistent duration from one moment to the next. One of unknown spells between periods of confidence that I will survive and episodes of debilitating sob fests, crushing bouts of sadness, and irrational hopes that she will be there in bed when I crawl in. It seems a separate reality, all by itself with nothing else to tether it to. Tomorrow will be another day in both worlds.
December 7, 2016 at 8:38 pm
That’s what it’s like, all right. I think what happens is that eventually you begin to live more in the parallel life, and that’s why eventually you will feel as if the pain is diminishing, but even five, ten, fifteen years later, something happens to jerk you back into the grief life and it’s like you’re living the loss all over again. Sometimes when that happens now at almost seven years, I welcome the pain because it reconnects me to our shared life. To me, the most amazing thing about grief is that we do eventually reach an accommodation with our loss, when logically, it should get worse because every day we live is one more day without the beloved.
December 8, 2016 at 11:42 am
Thanks Pat. I found your site and have been perusing it across all time frames. Lots of good stuff and daily support that I am not alone or abnormal in my journey. I am about 17 months out, after 30 years together. Christmas, her birthday, and Valentines Day all in the next couple months. I think I have tried pushing my “healing” too quickly, but the thought of this going on for five years is daunting.
December 8, 2016 at 12:30 pm
The whole thing is daunting. At 18 months for some reason I have yet to discover, there is a grief upsurge, and then about three years there is generally a significant spurt of renewal. After 30 years, it takes a long time to become the person who can continue on alone without your spouse. A lot of people try to push through grief too quickly, because no one wants that sort of pain. You’ve come this far. You’ll find your way. I’m glad you found your way here. Knowing you’re not abnormal is a big step because you don’t have to fight the idea that you’re crazy. Grief is crazy — there are too many hormonal, chemical, spiritual, and physical changes in addition to all the emotional storms.
Feel free to leave comments as you try to work your way through the morass.