Where does the time go? That seems to be the most common question thrown around as the years pass by. No one has an answer and especially as a kid you never quite believed it when adults said that time speeds up as you age. The weeks of school felt endless and the countdown to the summer holidays was tiresome and tedious. Now, I’m stunned and shocked by the fact we’re already in June and fast approaching the first anniversary of my Fathers death. To think a whole year has passed without him in my life is difficult to comprehend and yet somehow I feel pretty calm at the big number one approaching.
In grief everyone seems to say that the first year is always the hardest, for me I have to admit it’s pretty numbing and still there are days I find myself at a loose end. I think my method of coping is to find the good and the kind in whatever I can, or at least look to the positive. My work life has been difficult and it wouldn’t be an understatement to say that on a number of occasions I’ve wanted to walk away and hide in my bedroom where no one can find me. Why has it been hard? I guess I feel there’s a distinct lack of empathy and compassion in some so navigating grief and bereavement whilst adjusting to finding confidence in independence again is difficult. That’s before I even sit back and acknowledge how my role as a carer has impacted my security. So much of my life revolved around being there and doing things for my Dad which I absolutely adored. In a way it still feels empty. I may be working forty hours or so a week, but nothing feels fulfilling to me anymore. And that’s a bitter pill to swallow after everything we’ve been through.
Remember only a few months back I moaned about how winter felt endless? The snow kept coming and the temperatures never seemed to rise into double digits. Now it’s Summer, and only today did I feel I acknowledged it despite the lack of rain in recent months and having spent last week walking round beaches in Devon under intense sunlight. Time is passing by and I’m focussing on the negativities instead of taking a moment to stand still and see what’s happening right infront of me. Before I know it another year will have passed, five years will have passed and fifty years will have passed. I don’t want to look back and see that I hid away, that I stayed quiet when I should have spoken and that I didn’t grasp for opportunities when I wanted them.
Last year after we were officially turned down for the opportunity for a lung transplant, as a family we soon realised how precious time was. A Nurse confronted me and my Mother and with wisdom and compassion advised us that she felt Dad only had a couple of weeks left. Essentially she was right, he died three weeks later. At first we all sat in the coffee shop, numb and broken that the brutal truth had been realised. Our time was running out and it was slipping through our fingers. A few days later my Mum took time off work and she said something to me that has stuck. “Our future is now.”
Four words is all it took. It may not always be easy to comprehend or to resonate with but what’s the worth in waiting for weekends and special occasions? Adapt it now. Buy yourself that treat, go out after work for a drink even if it’s by yourself, book tickets to see a band play live or have an afternoon nap in the summer heat. Don’t feel guilty about not always thrill seeking but equally don’t put everything off until next year, because next year your world might well be completely upside down. Take a minute to stop and feel the sunlight, but don’t wait too long that life passes you by without you noticing. Because Mum is right, the future is happening right now. So live it.