Saturday, January 9, 2010

The 11th Hour

11:03 PM
Originally uploaded by Michael.DK

Dream Symbols: The eleventh hour is a widespread symbol for indicating that one's time is almost up, referring either to death or to a deadline. Among certain Christian groups, it is a symbol for the short time remaining before Christ's return. Dreaming about a clock face reading eleven o'clock often expresses anxiety about a deadline.

One of our much loved bloggers, womanNshadows, is at the 11th month of her grief. As many of us know, reaching a significant milestone in our journey of loss can be very anxiety provoking. Sometimes the anxiety about the impending date is truly agonizing.

I know that this past month I have been fraught with worry about the series of holidays, Michael's upcoming birthday, and a long scheduled day for Michael's mother and I to go through his things. Back in October when his mother and I planned this, January seemed so far away. But as the date has inched closer I have found myself stressed. It has felt like an 11th hour deadline. I have been quite tempted to request an extension of sorts, and put it off for a further date. My main concern has been, am I ready for this? With so many anniversaries during this Year of Firsts, this is the only one I have some control over. Everyone has been reminding me that I don't have to do this right now if I'm not ready.

I have spent so much time worrying about this date, which is exactly one week away, that I have played out what it will be like over and over again. Yet, this morning I found myself running out to Target to purchase some plastic containers in which to box up Michael's belongings. I realized this morning that if I am going to send off some of Michael's things with his mother, I want to treat them with loving care. Some of the things I anticipate sending home with his mother are very fragile, and of monetary value. Other items will travel easily, but are filled with much sentiment. Where all the month's worry has brought me, is to create a circle of love around me. If I share with others' about my anxiety, then I will meet the day with care and support.

Historically, I have not been the best at asking for help. Okay, I have been lousy at it. I'm your typical male, "I can handle it on my own." What I have learned these past four months, is that those days of trying to handle everything on my own are over. Becoming a widower has become the most significant right of passage in my life. What other widow(er) bloggers, like womanNshadows, has taught me is that there is definitely strength in numbers. Approaching the 11th hour of such a milestone is like having to walk up a very steep mountain. It looks so intimidating. Your legs feel like they will give out at any moment. And the closer you get to the top, your supply of oxygen is increasingly compromised.

From where womanNshadows is standing today, she has no choice but to keep climbing. The 11th hour has arrived. And, while this is a mountain no one ever wants to climb, the twelfth month date will arrive, and our grief must be faced.

I propose that whenever our clocks read eleven o'clock, we think of those, like womanNshadows, who need our encouragement and support during their climb.


  1. Beautiful - I am so glad that we found you x

  2. thank you, Dan, for mentioning me. i made it through last night though i am very tired this morning. but i am up and have those terrible movies on Sy Fy for companionship for a day of quilting and sewing.

    going through Michael's things will be monumental. each object will suddenly mean more to you than they ever did. you will be a Godsend to his mother. it will be so hard for her as well. i still have a fuzzy little star that plays "Twinkle twinkle little star" from my son who died in infancy.

    the things you keep for yourself are priceless beyond money, sentiment, or even words. i have shrines everywhere. shells, pewter dragons, smooth stones, his dog tags, and of course photographs. the spiritual bond with these shrines comforts me. i set aside one hour each day for my own Memory Quilt. cutting up his t-shirts is hard for me but sewing them together in the design i drew is comforting. i've talked to too many people who threw out too much too soon so my tiny piece of advice spoken in a small, small voice is if you are not sure, keep it. it's easier to give it away later rather than wish it back.

    it is hard to ask for help and it's not just a male thing. i have found it hard because there are those who think we should be "over it," or "further along in your grief." they are "those who do not know," sort of like "he who shall not be named." i like Suddenwidow's DGI ~ the "don't get it"(s).

    if you find you can't ask out loud, ask us here for solace and in a metaphorical voice from the shadows that offers support and comfort we will respond. we know what you mean, even if you dance over the words. we understand a lot of what you are feeling yet still recognize that your journey is unique to you.

    the 11th hour is a time of trepidation but it is also a time when they send in the Marines. it is also a time when help arrives. i'd like to think of all of us here in that way (i apologize. that metaphor is a selfish interjection that honors my Dragon).

    but we write when we are feeling awful. we are, in a passive way, asking for help. we check back with hope of seeing that little zero beside "comments" change. there's that catch in our hearts. someone has found us here. someone knows we need them. we click and read. it doesn't alter the sorrow or the severity of it, but we have posted our pain and someone has opened the door to our little rooms here. they have come in and now sitting with us. we are not alone. someone has found us in the dark. voices from the shadows. the kind of people who understand and care. otherwise they wouldn't be sitting in the dark with us.

    you are in my thoughts, and in my heart.