Saturday, January 14, 2017

Surviving Year Two: Week 23

Time is a Circle

This is Week 23 of my Surviving Year Two Grief Project. Details about all my Grief Projects, as well as Grief Resources can be found here.

This week I have been thinking a lot about time. Time changes when you are living in grief. It becomes more circular or spiral. The linearity of time breaks down completely.

I was watching old videos of my husband and a memory came flashing back to me. When I was 12-years-old, I saw the movie Starman with Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen.  This film stars a grieving widow and begins with her wearing her dead husband's shirt, sobbing, and drinking vodka out of a jam jar while she watches old movies of her handsome, funny, charismatic husband. This scene made me cry my eyes out. Some part of my wise 12-year-old girl heart KNEW what this character was feeling. I knew it deep inside my bones. My soul recognized this grief. How is that possible? How did I know what that kind of grief felt like at 12-years-old?

There are many theories about how time is non-linear. There are old stories and tales about the spiral effect of time. As a widow, there is also a deeper knowing that time actually does not "heal all wounds." Grief and "healing" does not work in a linear way. Instead, grief transforms. Grief shape-shifts.  Grief leaps about through time, peeking in to different stages of our lives and reminding us that death is always nearby — that death awaits us all.

When my husband first died, my grief felt like a metal cage, squeezing my heart within an inch of its life. Every breath was hard to take. Every step I took was wobbly. As I move through the spirals of time, the metal that formed that cage is changing. It is becoming stronger, but thinner, weaving itself deeply into my heart like a tapestry. Those iron bars are now steely threads. Instead of being hobbled and shackled by my grief, those hard, metal threads have woven themselves into my heart. My heart is made of grief now. This grief makes me strong. It is an armor I did not ask for, but am grateful to have. Things that used to scare and upset me, don't even make a dent in my life now. I have looked at the darkest places of life and survived. I have a wisdom I did not have before. I am a widow.

Thank you for witnessing me. See you next week.

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