Reflecting on days past, I pull out pictures of time gone by. All sorts of moments frozen for me to remember. A chronology of events- celebrations, holidays and special occasions.
Smiles. Remembering the laughter. With each photo I look a little deeper into my eyes. In each frame I see something insidious and frightening, a look not most recognize. It’s subtle at first, lurking, just below the surface. A gnawing. I wonder if anyone else notices. I can see it growing with each year as I thumb through memories, eroding the man in the photos just a little bit more in each frame.
A hole inside me was getting progressively larger, but I couldn’t see it at the time. All I remember feeling was emptiness without purpose or direction. The worse it got, the harder it became to hold on to my sanity. So loss, so tired, and so afraid.
Then, abruptly, the pictures stop.
This is the gap, the period we don’t talk about. For about year’s time all of the pictures cease. Truth be told, I was sick much longer than a year, but somewhere between 2007 and 2008, I was unable to show up for life at all. My illness had finally and completely overpowered me. My familiarity with the man I had known so well suddenly disappeared. There are no pictures. The only reminders are scars burned into the lives of those I love; sorrow, regret and remorse for time lost. Time that can never be recaptured.
I used to feel guilt and shame over the gap in my life. Seconds stolen from my family. Missing minutes turning into days, weeks and months, all gone. Today, I refuse to live in this gap any longer. If I am to live in the present, then I must be free of the past. I can never make up for the time I cheated my loved ones out of, but, today, I can live my promises and show up for life.
We heal, we grow and we move forward from this moment. We create new beginnings, new dreams, new pictures and new memories… with no more gaps.