My Friend Time by Jim Santucci
This weekend marks the 104th week since my daughter Jillian left this world. As I calculated in my journal, over 1 million minutes of time have elapsed. But it still seems like it was just yesterday that I was holding her hand as she took her last breath. Sometimes it still seems like a dream. An often heard cliché when someone goes through a difficult loss is, “time will heal”. However I don’t think that is quite true. Actually, I am sure it is not. Time doesn’t heal anything, but time allows you to heal. Let me explain.
When I started thinking about the idea of time it first seemed like it was cold and uncaring. The seconds, minutes, hours, weeks, months, and years seem to have their own agenda and lack any compassion as they just continue to ‘march on’ in spite of the loss of my child. I looked at time as my enemy. It wouldn’t give anything back. It was focused only on moving forward. Couldn’t it just pause and rewind for me awhile so that Jillian and I could sing one more song together? Watch a video one last time? Or read just one more book? Time just seemed so unforgiving.
Yet as the minutes have turned to hours, the hours to days, the days to weeks, the weeks to months, and the months to years my opinion of time has changed. I no longer look at it as my enemy, but time has actually become one of my closest, if not best, friends. You see, ‘time’ has not judged me as I have tried to navigate my life after Jillian’s death. Time has not criticized me. Time has not made me feel guilty. Time has not been insensitive. Time has not expected that “I should be over my grief by now”. Time has not been ignorant. Time has not been silent or said awkward things.
But instead time has been accepting. Time has been understanding and patient. Time has been sensitive and allowing. Time hasn’t healed me or my wounds of grief, but has allowed me the space I need to heal. Time has been my best friend just willing to sit with me in my pain and grief and tears and sadness and in my space of anger, guilt and confusion –knowing all along that I would get by and be okay. Time gives me hope that I can do something more with my life. Time inspires me to realize that though there is only a limited time we are here, there is so much we can do with it.
I truly believe that Jillian understood this idea of time – she understood that time was a friend, not the enemy. She was on this earth for 10 years, 10 months, and 10 days. Her time was exactly what it was supposed to be. She knew it and embraced it. That is why she lived life as she did – with vigor, with love, with silliness, with an outlook worthy of imitation. While most are consumed with getting things done, accomplishing things and performing for the rest of the world, she was only concerned with the day to day things that were simple and yet deep and real. Spending an hour on the computer laughing at hallmark greeting cards – the same one over and over – was way more important than any math problem that she needed to solve. She knew that her friend Time would only be able to provide life for her for a shorter amount than most. What was important for her was to love, laugh, give, learn, and teach while she had that space.
So I have come to the conclusion that Time is the best friend anyone can have when they go through a loss such as ours. As I navigate my life now with my friend Time, I’m comforted knowing that ‘he’ will always give me exactly what I need. If I try to fight against him and look at him as the enemy again, I will certainly miss many of the things that life will offer me through our relationship.
The above was sent to me by a fellow grieving dad and friend. It sounds like his daughter was wise beyond her years and that she truly understood how all of us should approach life. So often we get caught up in being more, doing more and having more. In reality, all any of us is looking for is happiness.