I've had such a hard time (pardon the pun!) putting into words how time has become an increasingly fluid and elastic element in my life since Chris died.
Most people find that time seems to continually, exponentially, and freakishly speed along faster and faster with each passing year. How can it not trip up over itself and turn our minds inside out!? (Maybe it does – we just call it Alzheimer’s.)
What I’ve experienced since Chris’ death is a not linear in any sense. Suddenly time bends backwards and slows down; it rockets forward and stops. I never know what any given day is going to feel like when I wake up in the morning. Will it be a day of moving forward and looking ahead or will it be a looking glass day? Will I find myself tumbling down the rabbit hole where time and reality and logic have no relevance?
One of many traditions I picked up from my mom was to sit down early in January every year with the new and old years’ calendars and write in birthdays, anniversaries, etc for the coming year. I knew that it would be an emotional minefield this year but habit won out.
The memories leapt to life from each little numbered square: love notes, medical appointments, travel plans, house-hunting visits, anniversaries - many of them in Chris’ near indecipherable scribble. Some he never lived to see: the closing date of the house we bought three weeks before he died, our first anniversary, his 35th birthday.
Each memory is marked in my mind not only for how long ago it happened but also by how long it would be from that day until the day Chris died… like two mirror images of the same inevitable reality; like two speeding trains heading towards each other. “This week last year…” “It would be two months to the day of his death.” It’s an easy game to get caught up in.
I sometimes feel like I’m standing at the corner of a set of mirrors that reflect images into infinity. At the corner point is the moment of Chris’ death and everything in my mind seems reflected through that instant. That instant which never seems to fade or drift in and out of focus like other memories. That instant when everything changed and time stopped being logical.