My friend, the poet Charles Brady wrote this about insomnia, but it applied to something else that’s been on my mind:

Can’t Sleep Haiku

In the lost hours between then and now
a neighbor turns his speakers
and Dvorak and his buddies hurry over
                                  – C Brady

The lost hours between then and now.

Yes. It seems like our lives are often marked between then and now, or, as I have been thinking, before and after.

Sometimes it’s a normal rite of passage:

Before I left college.

Before I got married.

Before I worked at this job.

Before I retired.

Before we divorced.

And sometimes it’s fraught with emotion:

Before he died.

When he was here.

When we took him to Wednesday morning class.

Before my diagnosis.

They’re not lost years, exactly, but they’re lost to us now. They live in our past now, in our memories.

And sometimes it’s not a good fit.

We don’t want them in the past. We want those years back.

But try as we might, we can’t get them back. Then can never be now. Ever again. And that’s the crux of the problem.

It’s a struggle many of us have and I am one of them. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to accept reality. It’s irrational, I know, but still, I rail against the now and wish for the then.

No matter if the loss is a job, a loved one, a pet, a home or our health, this raging against NOW is simply one stage in a grieving process that any of us who have suffered a loss passes through.

Some of us take longer than others to move through it. When my mother died my active grief lasted almost two years. A long time. I have no reason to expect different for my beloved Riley, as I cry almost daily about his transition to my then. I want him in my now. I rail against its impossibility.

I know this is something that just about everyone can relate to and so I ask, if you have gone through a similar process after any kind of loss, I’d love to know what helped you heal. Because sharing this can help the rest of us who are still in the healing process.

Thank you.

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