9 years, 9 months, 9 days, 9 minutes — it’s the first time in my life when “time” does and doesn’t carry much weight with me. Don’t get me wrong, I try to be on time for appointments and for work — if nothing else I am still (ridiculously) prompt for things. (I think it was the way I was raised — if we were 10 minutes early for anything, my father considered us ‘late.’) But I also realize how sacred the concept of time is. We have time to be together, to talk, to share our feelings and to be with the ones we love. But time is fickle — it tricks us into thinking we have more of it than we really do, that it is negotiable and can be bartered for other things. If I do ‘this’ then in a day, month, year, I can do ‘that.’
For example, we might think that we will stay ‘mad’ at someone because in a few days whatever caused one to become upset will have abated and life will go on. If we are annoyed or frustrated, we have tomorrow or the next day, next month or even next year, to speak to that person and to make right whatever wrong needs fixing. We have time to say, “I love you” and “thank you” and “you mean the world to me”, but right now, at this moment, we may think it is not the ‘right’ time.
I know now, that time is fleeting and tomorrow might not give us the gift of time to set right the wrongs, or to say the first of many “I love you’s” to our soul mate, or to sit and hold the hand of a dear friend and just be there for them. No, time is a concept that tells us that only right now counts and we need to be aware of how very precious it is.
Each time I hear of another accidental overdose death I stop and I think to myself, “I know what they are going through. This is only the beginning. There are minutes, hours, and days ahead of them when time will stand still and when they will wish for time to do things over. But there are no ‘do-overs’ in life. Time moves on with or without us.” I say a prayer for these families, whether they were together or estranged, and I hope that they find moments, seconds and minutes of peace.
And I remember…
I remember the first days after Bryan passed when I didn’t know what to do and I literally had no words to share. I wasn’t eating and I didn’t know I wasn’t eating. I didn’t know what time it was at any given moment. And all I know now is from that time all I feel is gratitude for my family who surrounded us with their love. My beautiful nieces who traveled for hours, who were at our front door the next morning to take over and take care of all of us; who did herculean work to keep us steady and to make sure we knew we were and are loved. These young women, new mothers, career women, who took on jobs I didn’t even know existed to make sure we were all taken of.
They took the time to lift us up, and they have continued to do that every day since that tragic time in our lives.
My nephews-in-law stood by all of us — they made us laugh when we thought that there was no joy left in our lives and when it was time to escort Bryan from the funeral home they, along with Bryan’s best friend Nina, surrounded Bryan and walked with him in love.
My childhood friends and family who showed up with food (and more food) and made sure we ate, who walked toward us with their arms open wide to embrace us and hold us when we could no longer hold ourselves. They took the time to show us what love is and how it connects us beyond this moment. My high school friends, who took the time to share their love for us, in person and in their words, my students past and present, who responded to my (obvious) surprise with, “How could I not be here?” all seemed to know that time is precious and time is now.
I lost Bryan today, yesterday, a month ago, 9 months ago … time has no meaning when thinking about the loss of my child, my ‘bright eyes’, my love. But, time has meaning now with my husband Jeff, my sons Jeff and Tim, my beautiful daughter-in-law, Christine, and my precious grandsons, Connor and Tyler. I want all the time in the world to tell them over and over again how very much I love them. How every second with them means the world to me; they are my light and my loves. They make me celebrate ‘time’ because they are in my world. And Bryan, I thank my heavenly stars for his light and love that surrounds me every single day. He is in my heart and my soul. I hear him speak to me in the whisper of a breeze, the ripple of the waves, and in the song of birds.
With Bryan there is no ‘time’ because right now Bryan is love, nothing but love. And with love, true love, there is no time, we only have right now and we have forever.