time remembers

I was dreaming when Jeff nudged me awake.  “The alarm didn’t go off,” he said.  “It’s 5:30.”

In the dream, I had been pushing all my weight against a door, trying to keep someone out.  The door wouldn’t close; a stubborn hand reached through the gap–fingers grasping.  Just go away I kept saying.  You have to go away.

In real life, I stumbled to the kitchen, cracked three eggs in a bowl and began whisking breakfast for the second day of the school year.  I added milk and whisked some more, all the while my mind turning that dream over and over again.  It reminded me of something, but the wakefulness of a typical Tuesday morning left the dream details blurry and fading fast.  There was a nagging about it.  Not fear exactly, but something desperate and weighty.  Something pressing.

And then just as if someone flipped a switch, my mind strung the details together: school started yesterday on the 15th…today is the 16th.  That Day.

It must have been about a month after it happened.  I went to the mail and sorted through it as I walked back to the house.  There was an envelope for my husband and I opened it just the same as I do the rest of the bills.  Only this wasn’t a bill.  It was a speeding ticket.  If you’ve ever received one by mail you know the offender is pictured in four low-quality images, just in case there is any doubt as to who was driving.  The four that arrived in the mail that day depicted my husband driving one-handed, his free hand brought up over his gaping mouth.  I checked the date.  July 16th.  Those cameras had snapped a picture as my husband rushed to the hospital that day–still in shock from the call.

When he walked through the door of the ER, I told the story again.  And then I sat with my head in my hands and openly bawled.  He sat in a chair of his own and stared at a spot on the floor.  He didn’t come to me.  He didn’t say a word.  I mistook his shock for blame and fell backwards into the pool of it–eyes wide open.  In the hours that followed, Jeff would snap out of it and throw me a life raft, but I wore the anchor of guilt like a vest and it would be some time before I would slip from within it.

Four years and the guilt lives here still.  It’s less a vine rooted deep and more a seed buried in the fleshy soil of my heart.  When once it was thick and strangling it now lies dormant–pruned back by time gone by and the grace of God.

Every year I wonder if maybe an anniversary will slip by unnoticed.  but then the dream and it seems that even if I don’t consciously take note, that seed within me plays out while I sleep.

People kept telling me that time would heal the wound.  It’s true.  Time closes wounds.  Time scabs them over.  Time turns wounds to scars.  But time never forgets.

Time remembers.

9 Replies to “time remembers”

  1. I remember. It’s always tied in around Tommy’s birthday for me, wondering why I didn’t hear anything from you… then hearing your story and oh, my heart. It’s the reason why I watch my boys like crazy at swim practice even with a life guard and instructors right there. I hope and pray that someday this day is easier for you. I don’t know if that will ever come, but I do hope.

  2. I know that day will never go away for you. I was so thankful for your contributing piece for my Project Smile that reflected on that day and where you are today. The last few lines of it were so poignant and completely filled my heart with a smile…”That single moment was like a gift from above. My son’s dripping face—his watery smile—enough to wash over the memories of what was. A simple reminder to live, instead, in the joy of what is.”

    ((((hugs)))) my friend!

  3. I remember your story and grateful your little one is ok. I loved your words “Four years and the guilt lives here still. It’s less a vine rooted deep and more a seed buried in the fleshy soil of my heart. When once it was thick and strangling it now lies dormant–pruned back by time gone by and the grace of God.” There was an accident in front of my home 10 years ago in June that still remains with me. The guilt…the miracle of my friend’s recovery. Time remembers…so true. Hugs.

  4. I’m so glad you have come this far from that horrible day…… the further the better! I’m sure it gives you another reason to hug him even tighter.
    I have a big issue with water ever since then. I’ve told your story many times. I don’t want my boys in the water without me or Geoff watching (preferably me) until they can swim on their own. Adam is getting there :)

  5. I was going to call you a little while ago and then stopped, wondering if maybe the timing was bad today. I’m glad it gets a bit easier each year.

  6. So true.

    The past few years have held quite a bit of grief for us…and you’re absolutely right that you never quite forget losing (or almost losing) someone you love. The wounds may be hidden from plain sight as time marches on, but they’re still very much a part of your heart.

  7. I just love your style of writing. You are very talented. Thank you for sharing your story. I went right to the “That Day” link and my heart pounded and my stomach clenched as I read. I spend a lot of time in the water with my boys. My three year old has given me a few scares – all when I was right with him focusing on playing with the kids so I could truly feel your story. Thank you for the reminder. A few years ago, a coworker’s 2 year old daughter drowned in their bath tub. She had crawled back in an un-drained tub. We all need the reminder of how quickly the water can become dangerous. Thank you, and I am so happy your ending was a happy one. I hope that one day the pain and guilt wont be so much. Hugs, Kristen @ One in 1 Hundred.

    1. I really appreciate your kind words, Kristen. Thank you!

      My heart breaks for your coworker. That’s just so tragic.

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