When a heart grieves, time moves to a different beat.

'Grief is itself a medicine'. William Cowper
‘Grief is itself a medicine’.
William Cowper


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.photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/indigoskies/6510124547/">Indigo Skies Photography</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

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.

photo credit: Indigo Skies Photography via photopin cc
photo credit: tricky (rick harrison) via photopin cc

13 thoughts on “When a heart grieves, time moves to a different beat.

  1. Grief, and the subsequent, lengthier process of mourning is probably one of the most timeless aspects of our human be-ing. Love, strength, and light for Daniel’s Mom and so many others along her side.

    1. Thanks Eric. I do tell her that people care for her and about her on this blog, which always amazes her.
      You are spot on when you say ‘grief is timeless’.

  2. I love the idea that your words have brought young Daniel to life for so many of us. I never knew your “cheeky” friend, but sometimes I find myself thinking of him as I look into the laughing eyes of my students.
    You have given him a measure of immortality that I love to believe might give you, and his parents, some small comfort.

  3. this is very true, tric

    when you lose a loved one, there is a period of time immediately after such loss when folk you meet will place a hand on your elbow or shoulder and ask how you are – meaning ‘how are you coping being on your own now that your partner is dead’ – but that considerateness lasts only a few months

    after a while, folk deem you have had plenty of time to grieve, should stop feeling sorry for yourself, and get on with your life

    it doesn’t work that way

    yes the pain of losing someone diminishes with time – it is no longer a constant you have to deal with/hide from others – but while outwardly one may appear to have got over the loss, it only takes a stray thought, a comment, an anniversary, a programme on the TV, etc to trigger a memory, and the pain of that loss is as fresh today as it was when you held your love in your arms as she or he breathed their last breath – no matter how many years have past since

    at that moment, while many years to others may have passed, to the one grieving, it is as if it was but a moment since their love died

    time truly does move to a different beat when you are grieving the loss of a loved one

    1. Duncan your comment made me tear up. It was the memories you evoked as you said that things trigger a memory and the pain of those last moments return as if they had just happened.
      It is those moments that make grief eternal.
      Hugs to you I know you are still in that moment. x

  4. Such a beautiful post. You describe it so perfectly and the title is so very descriptive. Beautiful. I don’t know Daniel or his Mum but I very much like the concept of grief time, how it gives them ‘extra’ time with their much loved child….. xx

  5. I never thought of it this way before. I do feel sorry for people who’ve lost someone close, a few months later.. It’s hard to know if they want to talk about it or if they want distraction and to be kept busy. My aunt passed away a few weeks ago, and at the funeral I met another aunt who’d lost her husband (my uncle) only 2 months earlier. I asked her how she was and we had a good cry and a hug outside the church. Lots of people try so hard not to cry at funerals and I don’t understand why, surely it’s easier to let the tears roll. I’ve also noticed how people are more accepting of an elderly person’s death. It’s harsh, but in so many ways it’s easier and less cruel.

    1. Yes I do think people are more accepting of an elderly persons death, except those who are family or very close. It seems to be as if it is a natural ending.
      Having lost Daniel it has coloured my view too, as I think if you have lived a good life, relatively long, well it is better than someone who went way before they began to live.
      As for tears, I am dreadful. Even Daniels own family don’t cry as freely as I do, at funerals I’m like the chief mourner, regardless of how close or not I was to the deceased!
      Condolences to you Olivia on your recent losses.

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