Thursday, September 04, 2014

Marking Time: One Thousand Days


We had him in a place he did not want to be. He was marking his time.


It was the place, the first of several, where the man who I thought surely was a real live angel looked me in the eye and said "You're not alone" and he told the boy who marked this time, "You are in a safe place."

And now there is a grieving man, the father, who continues the marking of time with a new number every single day in his journal. One Thousand Days. That's what today is, the one thousandth day. I told him it sounds like the title of a book. He reminded me of the book about John Kennedy (A Thousand Days).

I was curious. I asked him what he did. Did he write it out in a complete and painful sentence, "This is day number eight hundred and whatever" until finally, the thousandth day arrived? He said he just numbers the top corner of the page, each and every day. I've forgotten whether it was the left or the right corner, details sometimes get very important when you're grieving, I don't know exactly why.

I'm rather fascinated that my husband has kept track of this. I knew he was numbering the days early on (I only marked the months, and then the years, as they went by, clearly I am not one for such minute detail) but I did not know he was still keeping track.

I don't want anyone to misunderstand. Neither my husband or I are wallowing in the throes of grief all day, every day. But I do want it to be understood that losses like this stay with you forever. They change the very landscape of your life, they change the way you mark your time. When I write things like this, I am feeling my feelings, and I am choosing to share them with what I consider a trusted audience. Doing so helps me to remember the value and the love in my son's life. 

One Thousand Days, and still we grieve. In a thousand seemingly inconsequential ways, we grieve.

18 comments:

  1. Oh honey, thank you so very much for trusting us with this. It never goes away and no one thinks that you are wallowing. I look at you and just follow your lead in all of this. This is such an amazing piece. Thank you.

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    1. Aw, Mindy, thank you. I'm glad it helps you. Life gets hard, and still we smile, and love, and live and move. I'm grateful.

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  2. Man, amazing Diane.... so beautiful and so true.. and I nodded my head that these things stay with you forever because they do.... and there is no getting around it.
    I admire John for doing this... a subtle way for him.. and to count the days... how beautiful wrapped up in the painful loss. It makes sense.

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    1. Thank you, Lori! You, Mindy, and I represent three different kinds of loss and yet it is all loss. Yes, I think it's been helpful for John to count these days in this way.

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  3. Lori is right - this is a subtle, beautiful thing. Your writing is beautiful, too. Thanks for sharing this.

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  4. I'm glad to be able to see the way you paint the landscape of your life. I hope to be a little stream running along a tree line. Drink up.

    I also remember that this is his birthday month. Hugs.

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    1. Cyn, thank you. You are a precious steam.

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  5. Words that touch the heart, Annie. I note in your reply to Lori that others perhaps suffer loss of a different sort and confess that it took me a few lines to realize you were addressing your own grief. At first I thought you might be speaking of a friend with a child in jail or rehabilitation. In truth, we all connect in an inner spiritual stream that runs horizontally as well as on high. Thank God for good friends willing to walk with us down this path....

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    1. Thank you, Jim. Yes, thank God for the friends, face to face and internet, who are able to walk beside me.

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  6. Oh, friend.

    <3

    thank you for letting your loss speak so powerfully.

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    1. Thank you, Patti. My grief has taught me many things about love.

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  8. The only words I have after that are "I love you."

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    1. Thank you, friend! I love you, too!

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