Today, the autumn equinox, is six months without Ana. I’ve been watching the seasons up close in a way that I never have before. I sit outside (almost) every day and stare at the trees, wait for birds, take stock of the light, and imagine Ana is beside me. Sometimes I feel so peaceful that I’m sure she’s there. Sometimes I just…cry.
There are moments when it feels like no time has passed, like I might get a text from her or see her looking out at me from her bedroom window–now, my office window–as if all of this never happened, as if Ana didn’t draw the short straw. And, sometimes, it feels like an impossible number of days have passed–days filled with routines and tasks that don’t include her.
I don’t know how to reconcile this paradox of time. Ever since Ana died, I’ve felt a sense of unreality about my life and the world in general, but especially time. The feeling was strongest in the days and weeks immediately after Ana died. I read somewhere that this feeling of unreality (or numbness?) was my mind’s way of protecting me from the intense trauma of such a huge loss
But…I don’t know. I still feel as though time doesn’t fit quite right. It doesn’t make sense in an absolutely linear way like it did when I assumed that my children would outlive me and the seasons of Ana’s life would follow each other forever (at least, from my perspective).
This is my forty-sixth autumn equinox, but it doesn’t feel like another autumn is here. It feels like it’s the same autumn I’ve been experiencing my entire life. The seasons have stopped for Ana and so, in a way, I feel as if they’ve stopped for me. Maybe it would be easier if I lived in a place where the transition between seasons wasn’t so pronounced. Then again, maybe it would be worse–maybe an endless spring or autumn would remind me that Ana will never dip her finger into that tin of lip balm again or burn the untouched incense in her shelves or light the purple candle that sits on her bedside table. To live is to consume. It’s what our bodies need to do. The stillness that has replaced Ana is what hurts the most right now.
But, you know, I think it’s okay if I stay in this stillness with her forever. At least partially. I think (hope) that accepting that stillness is Ana’s reality (and one day it will be my reality) might be how I learn to move through time again.