“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” ~ Marcus Tulles Cicero
People say time heals all wounds. It truly depends on what kind of wound it is. For some wounds, like those caused by death, even the best handcrafters can’t glue back a shattered heart to the way it was before. But you do learn from it, like most events in life. It gives you that coming to Jesus moment where you attempt to take the baby steps to walk for the first time or that gigantic leap as you cross that chasm. Or it causes you to fall into the waters and drown. You learn. That is what time does.
In the six years since my sister was killed, time has ebbed and flowed like waves. And like the oceanic tides, some are massive doozies causing erosion to the shore, and others are more gentle, gently kissing the sand. The calmer waves make it easier to handle the colossal ones. As years have gone by I have learned; learned how to work around the hole in my heart. Learned how to function. Learned how to live again. It is in that learning that has made it easier for me to handle time.
As the years have past, time has been made that much more noticeable with the life events that have occurred; marriages, moves, births, successes are all a constant indication of the person who isn’t there to share it with us. Further more, a reminder of what my sister will never have when her life was cut short at twenty-five.
As each anniversary and birthday comes and goes, it is filled with a claustrophobic bubble enveloping me until finally it bursts on that auspicious day like a monstrous wave. Each time I let out a sigh that I survived. I made it through. Some years, I have no idea how. Others I brush the lint off like it was no big deal. In the early years I held onto hope that time would heal and that each year would get better. That is the misnomer.
Each year is different. Some are easier, but the calendar and clock have nothing to do with actual time. That isn’t to say, you stop living. That you dig yourself a hole and hide. Conscientiously avoiding the dates on your phone like they are some sort of bubonic plague. No. You have to keep going in whatever way you can.
Each person handles things in their own way and each year changes.
Some years I have wanted to observe the date like it is that metaphoric bubonic plague. To hide in my apartment, preferably under the covers until the danger has passed. But I have also found avoidance just prolongs the pain. Other times, it is a flurry of business. Distractions to detract from a date I know is coming, but I try not to dwell on.
Grief is unique to the individual. It isn’t right or wrong no matter what your coping mechanism is. You can’t let anyone tell you differently. With time, comes experience, but it also comes with the reality it is another year with a broken heart that can not be glued completely back together. That hole, that crack is always there, but so is the skill to endure.
And endure we will, as we move through this crazy experience called life filled with the agony, tribulations, grief, but also the memories, of love, happiness, laughter we have of those who shared it with us, even if for just a bit of time.