On Grief: True Time Distortion

I can feel the date creeping up on me.

I don’t know how much longer I can actively push it from my mind. Looming at the end of the month, patiently waiting for me as I’m dragged closer to it, unwillingly.

Can he really have been gone for 4 years? I suffer from time distortion as a symptom of my illness(es) on a regular basis, but this is a deeper time distortion that is fundamental to humanity, like how time speeds up when you have children or how when you’re a kid, Christmas Eve is a zillion times longer than every other night of the year.

Can that really be true? 4 years since he walked with me, talked with me, drove me up a wall, broke and re-broke my heart while somehow simultaneously lifting me up…Can it really been 4 years since my Dad died?

It may be more natural than the time distortion symptoms that I experience, but it is somehow a far crueler trick of fate: that even as each day of grief drags it’s heels, haltingly grinding toward the next inevitable day, the weeks and months and years simultaneously begin to move faster. The world never stopped turning, but you gradually begin to turn with it again, in such small increments that you don’t even feel like you’re living again. Then one day you realize that time has passed, that major experiences occurred more recently than the day of the horrible loss, that what you once counted in minutes and hours is now charted in months and years. And that realization is like them dying anew. You repeat that one day so many times, and somehow, it never hurts less to be struck by that same awareness of how much precious time has passed. Eventually it’s like checking your watch out of habit rather than needing to know the time, and the triviality of that parallel feels like slapping your own grief in the face.

And yet it happens. Once you start to turn with the world again, that cycle of grief and time passing is set in motion.

Tick tock. Tick tock.

I miss you, Daddy.

An Anonymous Outsider

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