One post I read in various places the morning of the time change was: it’s later than you think.
For people who’ve had an out-of-order or sudden death, that phrase certainly has more than one meaning.
Wherever you are in life, it is always later than you think. Than any of us think.
When Matt died, time was revealed as the stark, arbitrary marker it is. Neither of us could have possibly guessed at breakfast that “the whole rest of our lives” would be just a few more hours long. It was far, far later than we thought.
When Daylight Savings Time ended that year, I didn’t bother adjusting my clocks. Grief has nothing to do with the numbers shining red in the darkness. The only thing that clock showed me during that first year (or more) of grief was that I seemed to wake up at the same time every night: 3 am.
I can’t even count the sheer number of times I woke myself up by the sound of my own crying.
Grief, like death, cares nothing for your own sense of time.
Grief messes with so many things: it rearranges your sleep, poking its way through no matter how exhausted you are. Some people find that they wake up repeatedly at the time their loved one died. Others are woken up reaching into the empty space, jolted awake by finding it, indeed, empty.
If you find yourself wrestling with sleep issues, you’re definitely not alone. You may fall asleep on the couch at odd hours, only to find yourself staring at the ceiling when a more typical bedtime rolls around. You might have what we call “middle insomnia,” which is just as it sounds: waking up in the middle of the night. (“Late insomnia” is waking up before it’s really time to get up, being unable to fall back asleep.)
If you can’t sleep, or you’re shaken by a dream, don’t fight it. Your body and mind are just processing so much. It’s hard to fall into sleep in that kind of pain. As much as you are able, rest when you can. There are certainly things you can do to encourage falling asleep, but as we all know, grief doesn’t always follow predictable rules.
And remember, no matter what time of year it is, no matter what some random time-deciding agency tells you, those arbitrary numbers are flimsy digits in space when it comes to your loss: ignore the clock as much as you can.
You have all the time in the world for your grief, just as you do for your love.