Monday, April 26, 2010

It's About Time

We have a curious event in April in Michigan. We call it "daylight savings time" and what it basically does is cause all of us to change our clocks. Now we do this twice a year; spring and fall and I've had some difficulty remembering which way the clock goes - forward or back - pretty much every time the clock requires changing. Well, in April we move the clock forward and this means we lose an hour of sleep and that generally requires a good week or so for my body to make the adjustment. For a week or so nearly everyone in Michigan walks around tired and out of sort as their internal "body clock" makes the shift. I have no idea who thought this up but I wonder about the wisdom of it all. It also points out the reality that time really is a relative thing; an arbitrary construction of man.
I find it curious that in some cultures time is only marked by the sun - morning and evening and everything in between is just there. In our culture we are so time-centric that we strap little clocks to our wrists and program alarms in our cell phones to keep us ever aware of the time. What does all this have to do with grief?
We really are formed and informed by our culture and our western culture tells us that there is a time to grieve (preferably done in private so as to not upset others who really don't want to be confronted with such "negativity") and that time is as short as humanly possible. Anything over a year is pushing it and when you get into the third or fourth year, like I am, you are pretty much out of time.
Well-wishers will tell you that it's time to move on down the road and get on with your life. Look to the future and forget about all that loss and grief in your past. It's all behind you now so just get on with it! Wouldn't it be great if we could just take off grief like an old coat? It would be so much easier if at the one year anniversary of the loss of a loved one we could change our "grief clock" and put all that sadness behind us. We could "spring forward" into a new season of only happy thoughts and feelings. If anybody out there has a clock like that - let me know.
I have not found any grief-clocks. I've actually made the mental adjustments at key points along the way to attempt a "time change" from grief to anything better than grief. At the first anniversary of David's death - and then again at the second and third I set my mental clock forward. I gave it a good try at our 30th wedding anniversary and at my 50th birthday. I did my best to set my mental and emotional state ahead to brighter, springy days. I can't say that it worked all that well. Time is a relative thing; prone to change and subject to our whims and perceptions. Some days I am clearly living in "springy" thinking and other days I am falling back to grief's darker days. Grief does not work like a clock; always moving forward and making progress. Grief is all over the map; forward and backward and sometimes unmovable and stuck. It's all pretty relative.
So give yourself a break and take your time. There is no point in rushing through it because grief will do it's work in all of us according to its own good time. I think I'm making progress - but then again, tomorrow I may find it time to "fall back" again. I'm resolved to finish the work no matter how much time it takes.
Now if only I could get our culture to stop watching the clock and let grief keep its own time. Well, that's another topic and one that you and I are not able to change. so... tick tock... time's a wasting! I'm closing down the pink mini laptop and getting on with the day without any clue as to what "time zone" I'll be in today. Grief or gladness? Forward to new days, backwards to memories of great days with David? Probably all of the above in no particular order. That's the nature of grief. Whatever the day holds I am certain of one thing (really, I'm not certain of anything these days except for this!) God has my heart in His hand and He will help me through this day. He is with me. He is for me. -
He is with you too! He's not in a hurry - He's got all the time in the world and He's willing to spend it with you. Go God!!

Well, get on with the week - Time's a wasting!

1 comment:

  1. A friend gave me your blogspot and I'm reading these for the first time today, 6 weeks after I lost my husband of 29 years to cancer. Thank you for posting these. Your words are helping me today.