Sunday, February 24, 2013

Frozen In Time

I heard an interesting phrase the other day: “When your child dies, your life is frozen in time.” As I thought about it, how true that statement became.

The year my daughter died and the day, month and time are etched forever in my memory. If someone mentions the year 1988, I catch my breath. Yes, that was six years before my daughter died and Marcy graduated college that year and moved to Los Angeles to find a job which took her only one day to find! If another person mentions the year 1997, yes, that was three years after her death. I retired from teaching that year, but what did it matter. My daughter was dead. Everything that happens now is before or after 1994, the year she died.

Even if someone tells me their child died March 23 or the birthday is March 1, I count the days before March 2 or after March 2, when Marcy died, so I can compare how soon before or after Marcy’s death another parent lost a child. It has meaning to me even if to no one else.

I find myself always doing that…even to this day, 18 years later. Time stood still the day my child died and nothing will ever be the same again. I remember when it was the 10th anniversary of Marcy’s death. How could that be, I thought. It seems like just yesterday that car smashed into her car. No, it seems more like just today. Can it really be 18 years?

I sometimes compare this feeling to how Robert Redford felt in the movie, “The Way We Were” with Barbra Streisand after they had divorced. Although not the same as losing a child, Redford is in a friend’s boat and they are reminiscing about good years and “best times” they had. Redford is having trouble remembering the best times before his marriage ended and the best times after he knew his marriage was ending. They all became jumbled together. He can only remember the day she left him, even knowing the relationship was not working out. As I watched this, it brought home the point that we all have a “before” and an “after” time in our lives. For bereaved parents it is when our child dies.

Note: If any of you have these same feelings and would like to express them to others who may read this, feel free to write in the comment area of the blog.

1 comment:

  1. I have a few dates that seem to stop me in my tracks... February 2--Megan's birthday; June 3--the date she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer; July 25--the day she died. 2005--year of diagnosis; 2009--year she died. And the years in between when we tried to fit as much into her life as we could... I had a friend who was divorcing about the same time that Megan was battling cancer; she said she could not look back because it was too painful. I couldn't look forward because a future without my child was too painful. 3 1/2 years later and I still wonder how I can have a future without her in it...