Time should be absolute, shouldn’t it? One minute is 60 seconds. One hour is 60 minutes. One day is 24 hours. It doesn’t change. It is absolutely definable. There is no variation unless you count leap year. So why isn’t it absolute?
Two years can seem like a lifetime when I think of it one way and an instant when I think of it another way.
Yesterday I sent out an invitation to a memorial celebration of Michaela’s life. I wrote that it had been two years. And that stopped me in my tracks. I had to think about it. Two years? Only two years? It seems like a lifetime since I had my little girl by my side, making me laugh, telling corny jokes and making corny puns. It seems like a lifetime since that wonderful summer, just two short years ago, when she was so very happy and excited about her future.
Two years has been a lifetime.
A lifetime since she put on a prom dress and played in a construction zone for photos.
A lifetime since we went tubing on the banana river.
A lifetime since we went to a dinner theater and she ordered a beer . . . just because she could.
A lifetime since she huddled over a ladybug with her best friend, trying to get a good picture.
A lifetime since she wrestled with her brother on the living room floor.
A lifetime since I posted “You Rock” on her Facebook page and she responded with “You Roll” on mine.
A lifetime since she made her own recipe for chocolate, peanut butter, and apple tortillas.
A lifetime since she started her art project to make a necklace for everyone important to her, so they would “have something that makes them think of me.”
A lifetime since she went to her UCF orientation, saw her new apartment and met her new boss.
A lifetime since she crossed the stage of FSU and winked at the dean in her black robe with gold braid.
A lifetime since she went to the flea market and bought beads representing everyone in her family; so she would have something to make her think of them; and a giant wrench for a photo project.
A lifetime since she went shopping with her girlfriend for apartment things and bought my friend some peacock feathers just because she remembered that I had mentioned she needed some.
A lifetime since she talked her way into Disney on a military pass for free with nothing but a letter stating her ID was confiscated as proof that she was eligible.
A lifetime since she walked down the beach to Bizarro’s with her brother, sarong and beautiful blond hair blowing in the wind around her.
A lifetime since she saved a frog from certain death by kitty cat in our kitchen.
A lifetime since she sat at the kitchen counter filling out employment and school paperwork and asking me about insurance.
And two very long years since she walked out the front door with a breezy, “Bye, I love you, I can’t wait to see your pictures.”
But yet, it has only been an instant.
An instant since the police pounded on our front door, ringing the doorbell frantically.
An instant since I heard the words “life fight” and my heart stopped.
An instant since I saw Michaela’s car, with the top cut off, sitting in the middle of the intersection just half a mile from home.
An instant since we drove 70 miles an hour down Hibiscus following the police car with its flashing lights.
An instant since we sat in the waiting room quietly making little jokes and remembering how many times we had scared our parents in situations like this; denying in our words what was going on behind the emergency room door, not believing for one second that anything so terrible could happen to us.
An instant since we were told that all of the scenarios we had imagined and even hoped for were false.
An instant since I looked at my baby girl’s face and knew she was never coming back to me.
An instant since my wonderful son was doubled over in pain as he realized the same thing.
An instant since her father stood over her, reading her the Bible and praying for help.
An instant since her friends gathered around her bed in the middle of the night to tell stories and sing songs to her.
An instant since we spoke to the organ donation coordinator and then held hands and prayed for mercy.
An instant since I stood at her bed, staring at the respiration monitor, knowing its steady beep meant that she had stopped trying and we were to be spared having to decide for her.
An instant since my mother cut her hair for donation to Locks of Love and she was taken away from me for the last time.
And the next two years and the two years after that, and the two years after that, and all the years to come until God’s will is to reunite us will be a lifetime without my baby but also just an instant.
And then will come forever.
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