I remember my first night when I came back home from the hospital after my daughter was stillborn—empty-handed and no longer pregnant. I couldn’t shake the intense feeling of guilt that I had left my child behind. This guilt made it so hard to breathe and cloaked my life with a darkness that I couldn’t shake. When I woke up the next morning I would encounter my first betrayal in the grieving process:
Though time had remained frozen for me, it still moved everything else forward. The hands of the clock still ticked onward, the sun set every day, and the Earth kept on rotating. Like my child’s unexpected death, time was now another aspect in life that I was an unwilling participant of. As if losing my child weren’t enough, I now had to deal with new experiences, new milestones—all without my child. I couldn’t eat, travel, watch TV or be with friends. After all, my daughter wasn’t here to experience any of those things, so why should I get to? Every new sunrise was a reminder of my child who wasn’t here to experience it and because of so my guilt absolutely consumed me.
No matter what I did, there was time, pulling me by the legs, dragging me along, and forcing me to move forward. To move on.
I didn’t know it then, but time was in the throes of becoming one of my greatest teachers.
Time was teaching me that no matter how tragic my circumstances were, that the hours were going to keep moving forward, and it was so that I wouldn’t always be stuck in the vines of great despair. Yes, there was immense unhappiness right then, but there was always a chance of immeasurable happiness ahead too. I wouldn’t know if that would hold true unless I moved forward–unless I move forward with time.
As fearful as I was of this change, I took the leap. And when I found myself further and further away from when a time when my daughter was once alive, I realized something powerful.
I had not left her behind anywhere, instead she was right here with me. She was always with me.
Time did not take her away.
That is when my thoughts began to shift and the guilt began to shed. It was the realization that my relationship with my child did not end with her death. My love and longing for her surpasses everything—life, death, distance and even time.
Time may continually move forward, but love never leaves anyone behind. For as long as I love my daughter, she will always exist here with me, in the present—immune from the laws of physics.
Every new experience I take on, every new day I wake up to, she remains with me. Time can never take that away. Now that I find myself miles down this road called life, I have discovered that I am in possession of something that defies the natural order of things; I am in possession of a love that knows no boundaries—A love that can endure, even after time moves forward.
Time taught me that too.