Tuesday, April 13, 2010

7 months

number 7
Originally uploaded by
Leo Reynolds

...but who's counting?

My thoughts tonight are focused on time, time without Michael, time on my own.

7 / 2 = 3.5 Time I had with Michael.

7 x 2 = 14 My birthday, tomorrow.

7 x 3 = 21 Anniversary date of my meeting Michael, one week away.

70 x 7= How many times you must forgive.

Get an idea of how disturbed my mind is? I find myself playing these number games all the time, as if there is deeper meaning in a number. I also think that numbers allow me to look at something tangible, rather than vaguely trying to measure my progress in this journey of grief.

I sometimes worry that I put too much weight on these numbers. Was my experience of losing Michael different at 5 months? At 6 months? And now, at 7 months? I suppose I would have to say yes. I am experiencing my grief differently today than in past months. I can honestly say that I am making progress in finding acceptance with all of this.

As everyone who has experienced loss, and grief, knows, the healing process in not linear. It is more cyclical. I have learned to accept this, and to anticipate that the pain of my loss will hit me at different points along the way. Then why do I keep trying to track my grief in months, in a linear way?

I can only speak for myself. I think it is partially because of the notion that we spend a year in mourning. I also think it is because we experience our year of firsts. First anniversaries of important dates acknowledged without our loved ones. The day that I started this blog was the first significant anniversary in my year of firsts. It was October 19th, our wedding anniversary. It was not only the first time celebrating our wedding anniversary without Michael, it was actually our first wedding anniversary. In this way, it became a very odd experience, because Michael and I never shared a wedding anniversary. For this reason, my default anniversary goes back to the one that we did celebrate, which is April 21st, the day that we met. We had 3 relationship anniversary celebrations in the years that followed that first date, April 21, 2006.

What does all this mean? Why am I so caught up in this discussion?

I know that I am now beyond the half way mark in my year of firsts. I know that I am coming around the home stretch in approaching the first year anniversary of Michael's death. And with each day, I feel like I am measuring distance from that life ending, and life changing, date. It scares me, as I don't want to feel that it is measuring distance from Michael, but in some way it does feel that way.

When we hear that time heals, does that mean that time will create distance? And, is that something that I want? I know that I want to feel less pain. I know that I want to feel more happiness. I know that I want to feel more connected to life. But, at what cost?

Today I have fiddling with my wedding ring all day. I kept wondering if I should move it to my right hand. I know that it is probably too soon for that, but I sometimes feel like wearing my wedding ring is not reflective of my reality. Am I still married? I suppose not. I am widowed. I also think this has been on my mind because I don't want to put too much on the one year anniversary of his death. I'm thinking that it might be best for me to portion out some of the changes.

As an experiment, I just moved my wedding ring from my left hand to my right. My left ring finger has an obvious band shaped tan line. In one way it feels kind of odd not having my ring on my left hand. Yet, at the same time, my ring feels very much at home on my right hand.

Now here is an odd realization. If I count the fingers that my wedding ring just traveled from my left hand to my right hand it is...7. Maybe this is a good time.


  1. I don't really think that time increases distance. As I wrote in a recent post, time doesn't really seem to matter much. Yes, it can dull the pain of grief, but our ability to reconnect to memories, or to experience emotions and love, don't seem to have time limits -- or, at least, that has been my experience with the people whom I've lost.
    One difference for me - compared to quite a few of the people who keep blogs - is that I don't really keep count of things. Strange as I used to be what could almost be termed a compulsive counter. My situation is unique enough that it's not necessary for me to keep track of the date too much. However, in spite of not bothering most of the tme, my subconscious is usually pretty handy at keeping all of these numbers ready for recall - but I rarely consider them. That may be a little weird, but it's just how I am. I've taken to thinking of death a little differently over the past couple of years and that puts it outside of time.
    Don and I stopped wearing our rings soon after we got married as we both worked in occupations where a ring could get caught or crushed - I had both happen on occasions. We never started to wear them again in later years, so this is not something I've considered. In fact, I never notice jewelry on anyone (again, I'm probably different than most people on that count). However, that said, I can see how a wedding ring can be charged with a great deal of sentiment and symbolism and perhaps even a tangible feeling of connectedness. I would not think it wrong to just go on wearing a ring on your left hand if you felt so inclined, or to move it to your right hand. I think that all of us just have to experiment and "go with what we feel" when making certain changes in our lives.

  2. i count, but for me it's the full moon thing. i'll always know without really having to count. and as for rings, you do what feels right to you. always do what you want. this is your journey. but i would like to thank you again for the gift of my widow's ring. it's a me thing, not a woman thing. not a man thing. just a me thing. i still wear my engagement and wedding rings with the widow's ring. it simply feels right to me.

    i wish you peace.

  3. Happy Birthday--well--as happy as it can be without Michael.

  4. Happy Birthday tomorrow, Dan. I hope it brings you many happy memories of times shared with Michael and also brings you a glimpse of happy birthdays to come. I get the counting thing. I've counted bars of soap, days, weeks and seasons. I'm not sure why. It almost like I'm saying to myself, "can you believe it's been this long?" while I grieve his absence and and pat myself on the back for surviving another day, night, week, season.

  5. Hi, Dan!

    I don't know if you remember me, but we used to work together. I found your blog by way of Arlette's FB page. (Yeah, isn't FB something?!)

    I left the Agency before Michael passed, so I'd like to now offer my condolences, and also wish you peace in your journey through grief and loss.

    I find numerology to be fascinating, and believe that it does, in fact, mean something. Whatever that something is depends on the individual and his beliefs, desires, needs ...
    However, seven is supposed to be a lucky number, yes?

    One of my favorite quotes: "There are no coincidences, only the illusion of coincidence."

    Be well,


  6. Hi Felicia,

    Thanks for being so thoughtful, and for sharing your thoughts.

  7. I can only speak for myself, but I have found that time - and the experiences over time - have moved me away from my late husband. Sometimes I feel guilty about it or sad, but mostly, I just accept it as what is and that it's normal and okay.