Time Didn’t Stop When His Life Ended

His watch has kept time for nearly five years

Patrick’s watch | Photo by Danell teNyenhuis Black (author)

When a loved one dies, there is an odd feeling of time pausing and then rushing forward. If you are grieving, this can be an uncomfortable sensation. You want to stay locked in the memories, but you are unwillingly pulled forward.

This happens a lot in life, even when you are not grieving. One of my favorite vacation spots is Catalina Island, off the coast of Southern California. I’ve always had a great time there, and I never want to leave.

When it’s time to go, you line up on the dock to board the ferry. You think of how nice it would be to stay longer and continue enjoying the slow pace of island life. But reality beckons, and you must go.

There used to be a calendar on the side of my fridge. Patrick would use it to write down important events. I never used it since I keep track of everything on my phone and have for years.

That calendar was just part of the scenery for me, and I barely noticed it. It was many months after Patrick’s death when it finally caught my eye. A calendar froze in time, still in April 2016.

I thought it was appropriate since I felt like time had stopped. And that calendar had the good and the bad—the before and the after. Patrick lived during that month.

I left the calendar as it was. I don’t remember how long it stayed that way, but eventually, it became another milestone on my grieving journey. I took it down and kept moving forward.

A few days ago, I was looking for something on my nightstand when I found Patrick’s watch. He’s been gone four years, eleven months, and six days. I expected the watch face to be blank.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed that it was still working and was only a few minutes off the time.

He was wearing that watch when he took his last breath.

Seeing that his watch was still keeping time seemed like a message to me. Maybe even many messages.

Even though he’s gone, his memory lives on. His legacy continues with his daughters. He will always be a part of us and never far from our thoughts.

Time keeps moving forward, even when we want it to stop. And that’s not a bad thing.

I held that watch as I sat in the home I share with my new husband. A man who showed me I could love again.

The watch reminded me I was able to move forward without completely letting go of the memories.

Time marches on, and with it, we must go.

Widow, Mother, Wife, Associate Professional Clinical Counselor. Recovering Republican trying to find my way. https://www.danellt9.com/. Danellt9@gmail.com

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