The anniversary of buying my house is coming up next month. It’s all still so fresh to me — the surprise and amazement, the joy far outweighing the frustrations — that it seems inconceivable I’ve been here three years. The time simply slipped through my fingers, three years gone in a flash.
During my first years of grief, time seemed to pass slowly, probably because I was grasping onto time itself, counting down the minutes, the hours, the days, as if time were a lifeline keeping me from falling into the black hole of agony and angst. But even those years passed, and the twelfth anniversary of Jeff’s death will also be coming up next month.
It is interesting to me that the anniversaries of these two life-changing events — Jeff’s death and the buying of my house — occur in the same month. The dates are three weeks apart, so my celebrating the house won’t bleed over into my honoring his life, though it wouldn’t make any difference if it did. Next month won’t be the emotional roller coaster it might appear to be, with the happy anniversary coming up at the beginning of the month and the sad one at the end because time tends to even things out. The highs get eroded and the lows gradually get filled, perhaps with the sediment of the erosion.
Also, although on the face of it, the two events don’t have anything in common, they are inextricably entwined in my mind because of the enigma — if Jeff hadn’t died, I wouldn’t be here. I couldn’t have one without the other. I sometimes wander around the house, wondering how he would fit into my life and my house, and I can’t see it.
But it doesn’t matter. It can’t matter. He’s gone. He will never have to fit himself into my current life. It is confusing, nonetheless.
Still, time passes, and there will come a time I will never even think of trying to fit him into my life. I might even break my relatively new habit of talking to his photo. (In fact, that would probably be a good idea. It reminds me . . . again . . . that he is gone and that any sense of connection is just an illusion, which makes me feel alone. And sad.)
It’s funny to me that my car’s fiftieth birthday passed without my remembering. You’d think that would be a significant date, considering that the car has been with me most of my life and has outlasted almost all relationships, but apparently not since I lost track of the days. It’s possible, with enough time, Jeff’s date will also pass unrecognized, not that I would forget him, but that I would lose track of the days. And the same goes for my house.
That’s the thing about time. It passes, and with its passing, all things pass, too.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.