I spoke with my counselor, Larissa at hospice today. It’s hard to believe that it has only been four months since we met. My life has changed so dramatically in such a short time. In some ways, it seems like a life time ago, although I am still experiencing those instantaneous, déjà vu moments when it all suddenly feels like it just happened. Makes me wonder, could the experience of loss have something to do with our perception of time?
As I entered the room for my counseling secession, Larissa asked me to select a seat from the circle of chairs. As I sat down, she told me how much “lighter” I appeared. “I remember the first time you walked through that door,” she said. I was instantly gripped with a vision of myself walking through the door and sitting in the chair next to me. It was if the time zones had somehow crossed and my past and present self were sitting there, at the same time.
“I remember,” I said. “You told me I was in shock.” I glanced at the fading figure next to me. While she took no notice of me, I was keenly aware of her. I could actually feel the cumbersome bundle of emotions silently brewing beneath her stoic facade. She looked so lost and fragile. I wanted to reach over and wake her up, tell her to look at me so she would know that in the near future, things would get better. But if I touched her, I was afraid that it would only frighten her all the more. This all transpired in an instant. “I didn’t really know what being in shock meant at the time,” I shook off the vision and turned to Larissa. “But thanks to you, I do recognize it now.”
I quickly moved on, telling her about my progress and a few of the amazing little ironies that had taken place since I began my cardinal experience project. “I woke up the other morning,” I began, “and discovered I had forgotten to charge my cell phone the night before. Anyway after I plugged it in, I opened it and there was a picture.” I was surprised as I don’t text and had no idea how, or when the picture got there. The picture was of my friend Mary with her new born granddaughter in her arms.
As it turned out, she and her husband, Michael had come to Orlando for the birth. They invited me to breakfast and we met within the hour. I was overjoyed to see them both; especially after all they had been through. Michael had recently undergone a series of very difficult surgeries for colon cancer and just when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse, Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankfully, they are amazing individuals and as a couple, they’ve proven to be invincible.
I couldn’t believe how wonderful, and healthy they both looked. As soon as we sat down, Mary excitedly pulled out the pictures of the new baby to show me. She was beautiful. “You must be exhausted,” I said thinking they had been up all night with the birth. “What time was the baby was born last night?”
Mary looked at me questioningly. “You didn’t pick up your messages, did you?” I shook my head no. “She was born on Thursday, May 12th.” I gulped. She was born on Jack’s birthday. It was beautiful, and uplifting to know that a new child had come into the world on his birthday, but it was also unnerving.
Jack’s birthday was always close to Mother’s Day and I had been anticipating the day for weeks. I wanted to do something special, now the realization that the day had come and gone without my even noticing it, was to say the least, disturbing. How could I have just missed the date like that? How could I possibly have not known somewhere inside what day it was?
I am beginning to wonder now, if somehow, I slipped through the time loop, if there is such a thing. I wish now that I had asked the counselor about it. She always seemed to have a new perspective to offer regarding these things. In the secession, when I glided over the fact that I had forgotten his birth date, Larissa started to say something about it then decided not to disrupt my train of thought. I am not sure why I didn’t ask when the opportunity presented itself. Was it because I was embarrassed? Regardless, now I am left with a time old question and there is not a cardinal in sight to help me out.
I decided to go back to work the website for a while and finish the salamander story. During my visit with Mary and Michael a few days ago, I told them about the cardinal experience. They in turn, shared an interesting story with me about their cardinal experience, and how it appeared to them in the form of a salamander. I knew I had begun writing the story, but couldn’t remember which date I had filed it under. So, I began looking through the dates of the various pages on the computer files. That’s when I spotted the page I had written on May 12th.
It seems I accidently posted the May 12th story on an empty page in the blog dated May 9th, my youngest brother’s birthday. The amazing thing is that the story was all about birth! I had written about the birth of my grandson, the birth of a new project and the opening of a new path in my life. I had also written about how the inspiration of Jack’s life and now his death, had led me to reclaim my passion for writing.
Now that I think about it, I do remember telling Larissa about my new blog just as I was leaving. “I love writing it,” I told her. “I’m writing daily. The only thing is I can’t seem to get it posted in any kind of reasonable order. I’m all over the place time wise.”
“Don’t worry about time,” she advised. “Artists are known for loosing track of time when they’re in their creative zone.” She was right. Transcending time was not necessarily restricted to the twilight zone. I like the idea of an artist zone. Truth is I have been in my own little creative zone for weeks now. Lately I have been working long hours on my Mac and more than once, I happened to glance at the clock on the screen and it was suddenly past midnight.
Whatever the zone is called, I love working in it, every minute of it. While I may not know where the time goes or even notice when it is gone, I do know that when life is flowing, time does not seem to exist. When we are genuinely happy, time flies by and if we are lucky, we will find ourselves flying along with it. (OMG, from my window, I see the cardinal now.)