A Note on Time and Dying

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of time. I’ve kept a journal since the second grade, and each entry is marked with the day of the week, day of the month, the actual month, the year, the time of day I wrote the entry, and how old I was at the time of writing.

I still keep a journal, and it’s still ingrained in me to keep track of time in that obsessive way. It’s almost as if I want to make sure I understand the context in which I am writing my entries. It’s my way of grounding myself, of keeping track of this strange existence in order to make sure it’s not just passing me by.

So this morning, on Friday, September 29, 2017 at 10:03 am, at 24 years old, I found out my grandmom is in the hospital and is not doing well. This isn’t a shocker – she’s had cancer for a while now, and the only thing we can really be sure of in life is that we’re all going to pass away at some point – yet it still feels tragic. My obsession with time has always made me conscious of not wanting to waste any of it – yet her situation is forcing me to realize how much time has been wasted between us.

For a chunk of my life, we were largely absent from each other’s lives. I have the greatest memories of sleeping over her house before Easter with my sisters and cousins, of her taking me to mini golf, and watching me when my parents were away. She taught me how to play 500 Rummy, told me her life stories, and now that I’m older it’s quite apparent that I could have gotten my dry sense of humor, love of mystery novels, and free spirit from her. Then, for reasons that are perhaps no one’s fault, there’s a big space of time void of her presence.

Only in recent years have I tried becoming part of her life again, and I will cherish the memories we made in my heart. But this news shook me in a weird way – it made me realize that no matter how much you try to fix the mistakes of the past, they’re always going to be there, as an empty space in time. Yet no matter how much time has passed, the bonds of love are far greater than any other force in life.

Life is filled with change, and it can take everything away from you. But love is our constant in this ever-changing world, and no matter what life takes from us, it can never take away our love.

I guess the whole point of this entry is this: you can obsess and obsess and obsess over time, but at the end of the day, you’re only human, and mistakes will be made, and in spite of your best efforts, moments will be lost forever. You can’t get that time back, but you can keep learning from the years of your life, and you can keep using your time more wisely. You can never make the calls or visits you never made, but you can make new calls and visits with the people in your present. You can take the love you’ve built with others over time, and you can expand and share it. Pass it on to others, and enable them to do the same.

As long as you share love with someone, your time with them, no matter how short, was not in vain. It will continue to spread and inspire.

My grandmom can’t read this right now, but other people can. Other people can visit their loved ones today, tell them how much they mean to them, make memories and share time with them. I can talk to my nieces and nephews, and perhaps my own children one day, about all the love and light that my grandmom taught me, and they will then know how to pass on the love, and so it will trickle down the generations.

At least, that is my hope. I hope you make those visits and say those words you’ve been meaning to say today.

xo.

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