Today I was driving home, with some shopping in the car, when without conscious thought I found myself driving in the opposite direction. The sun, which had been rare all morning, was shining, and the village looked at it’s best. I knew where I was going.
I needed to call up to Daniel. I needed to take the time out of life, to stop the world from turning, and to standstill and remember. To remember and to try to comprehend, that Daniel was gone.
As I walked into the graveyard I felt as I always do, incredulous. How did this happen? I could feel my head shake. As I stood at his grave looking at his handsome photo,I will admit that I cried. A cheeky, beautiful boy smiling out at me. A boy who left this world and the wonderful life that lay ahead of him, many years before his time.
Beside his photograph I saw a large bouquet of flowers. They were from his Mom. It was her birthday last Monday. It broke my heart to think that the only way she could share her birthday with her young son was to bring him her flowers. How hard must that be? To never again be able to give a present to your child.
It is almost ten months since Daniel died. I have learned a little bit about grief this year, but one of the main lessons I’ve learned is that ‘grief time’ runs at a very different speed to ‘real time’. In those ten months, other children have had birthdays. They are a year older. Christmas came and went. So too did the Summer. Recently Daniels siblings and friends returned to school and college. To a higher class.
All this I know to be true. I understand exactly how many days have passed since last November, and how many small milestones we have reached. However my heart beats to a different clock. It ticks to a different time. A clock that began to tick the day Daniel left. In my heart that was but a moment ago.
Others may mark Daniels passing in real time. They may think that it is coming close to one year. They may believe that healing is taking place over time. However their clock is running at a different pace. Ten months in grief time is mere moments in real time.
As I stood and shed a few silent tears for Daniel and young Ben this morning I was grateful for ‘grief time’. Grief time slows the clock and allows families to keep their child close. It keeps the past beside them, and a future without their child far away.
As I left the graveyard I thought of my friend, Daniels Mom, and I hope that for her grief time continues to keep young Daniel by her side, for many’s the year to come.