One of the biggest side effects of the grief I’ve lived since John died is the loss of time. Not time with him, or time on earth, I mean every day time. Most days I find I really can’t remember what day it is, sometimes I can’t remember what month I’m in or when the calendar turns again I find myself month after month staring at it, mouth agape, literally somewhat shocked. How did 30 days go by without me noticing it? Seriously how does this keep happening to me month after month??
I actually lost all of autumn this year and can’t tell you why or what was going on. I just remember looking at the calendar and it was late October suddenly, and realized I missed all the fall planting season. If it happened every now and then it wouldn’t seem so annoying but it started when John died and has not really changed since. So every month I find myself asking, did I give Abbey her heartworm pill? Did I pay the cell phone bill? When was the last time I took the garbage to the curb-which btw right now my last recollection would be three weeks ago, maybe longer. It’s this monthly check in that makes me realize I’m maybe not doing as well I think I am. It’s this same monthly check in the firms my resolve to do better, a little like a New Year’s resolution, except I make it monthly and break it monthly, but still I keep trying so it has it’s positives as well.
The adage that time flies when you’re having fun doesn’t apply here. I’m not having fun. I’m not living life to it’s fullest or spending my days carefree and laughing. Honestly, the sound of my own actual authentic laughter startles me when it makes a rare appearance. Grief time loss is different. It doesn’t fly by, it’s a thick fog in which I live in, where one sorrow filled day leads to another and another and they are all the same- empty, sad and lonely, so lonely. Nothing really differentiates one from another other than the date on a calendar which I have long ago stopped paying attention to unless knowing the actual date is necessary. The time fog of grief means there is no escape from the longing for a different reality and no exit from the reality that is, but what does exist is this space that you live in where everything you do feels slow and meaningless and as if you’re watching a movie in a different language- you kind of understand the basic idea of it but all the details, the real meaning of it is lost to you.
This is the brains way I know. The brain literally shuts parts of itself down when there is a trauma and slowly, so very, very slowly lets down one wall after another allowing only portions of the loss and pain through because, as scientists have found, this is the brains protective nature from extremely traumatic happenings. I understand that. I in many ways even appreciate of it, as I have sometimes wondered just how manic and crazed I would be if it had all been allowed to rush in and flood my entire brain, body and senses with the unimaginable loss of John and the life we had, the love we had, all at once. I’m certain if it had all been allowed to flood in that I would find myself in the middle of the grocery store screaming and screaming out of agony for the loss, or maybe I would have just curled up and never left the fetal position of those early days after John died. But the brain protects itself and me and so I live in a fog of details lost. Both appreciative of the protective barrier against the harsh reality of life without John and impatient to be healed enough to have it lift- to remember days and months and happenings.
For now every time I see the calendar flip again I wonder, how long? How much longer till I see the details of life with clarity again? How long before the sun and birds and tastes of food are crisply experienced instead of soggily slogged through? I ache to see the details in my life, I long for joy and to simply remember day after day without wondering what happened to the last four weeks- again? And although I am appreciative of the protective measures my own brain and body have taken and are still taking to protect me from a reality that is so hard to accept, I can’t help but think it’s been over a year now, how much longer till the fog lifts? How long till I can “be” again without deep grief being my constant sidekick? I’m impatient with my own progress. I'm impatient because of my desperate desire for healing to occur, and yet I know through the grief is the only way to find healing, and that can mean slowly, slowly slogging forward in a fog.