Time. It may be a construct created by humankind, but it sure is complex – even without mentioning the scientific side.
Time soars by when you’re enjoying yourself. When you’re laughing and joking with your loved ones or exploring exotic new places, bam! It’s suddenly time to leave. Night has fallen, the music has stopped or your transport back to the airport has arrived.
But time almost stops moving (or I swear sometimes goes backwards) when you’re doing something mundane like watching your freshly decorated bedroom wall as it dries. When you’re sat in that lesson for that subject you were forced to pick; when you’re slumped at your desk doing the job you loathe or when you’re awaiting critical results – did you pass the exam? Did the surgery go well? The seconds hand seems to take an hour to make one lap of the clock face.
Yet, when you’ve lost someone, time is the only ‘healer’. Its passing is the only means by which you learn to adjust and cope with the grief and loss a little better.
But when you’re remembering those lost loved ones, the concept of time can become hazy. It can strangely feel like just yesterday when you were with them, cuddled up beside them in their chair together watching afternoon gameshows, tackling the crosswords in the daily newspaper and working through a packet of biscuits. It feels like just yesterday when you last saw the deep, unconditional love they had for you in their eyes as they hugged you goodbye. It feels like just yesterday since they smiled as they told you they loved you and they’d see you soon. It can feel like no time has passed at all and yet it’s actually been months, years or even decades.
Months on, you may still go into their house expecting to see them sitting in their armchair drinking a cuppa while pouring over an old book on wood carving. Years on, you may still find yourself unintentionally veering towards the street where they used to live as your muscle memory takes over, only to relive the pain that they’re no longer there and you can’t visit. You can’t have that hug you long so much for. You can’t look into their eyes and tell them one last time how much you love them.
Then, that moment passes, taking some of the pain back with it, and you move on until the next unexpected occurrence when grief, memory and time trip you up.
The thing about time is, although it’s constantly and unstoppably passing us by, the preciousness of these memories and the importance these people had in our lives don’t age with it. The love, fondness, pain and memories are in the past but they are still with us in our present, and they will continue on with us in our future.
Some people are robbed of time, but most people always feel they don’t have enough of it. We should use it more wisely.
Time is a thief and a blessing all in one.