This month Sam Grafton’s family will mark his 30th birthday. Three years have passed since he left us.
Three years. That’s such a strange thing to wrap my head around. In some ways it was just yesterday when the call came, and in other ways it’s been an eternity since his family’s world was shattered into billions of bright, sharp points of heartbreak.
In some ways it was just last week that he was a baby rocked in the arms of a friend at the edge of the river.
It was just yesterday that he sat on his mom’s lap and turned his face from me when I was trying to practice doing an evaluation on a toddler.
It was just a few minutes ago when my husband took him in a raft down the Wenatchee River. It was just an hour ago that he and I talked about the test for his driver’s license.
How does life go by so fast? Everyone tells you to treasure the time you have, but we of course don’t. We get caught up in day-to-day work and chores and responsibilities. We get impatient and frustrated and irritable…and then the time is gone. And then the person is gone.
It takes conscious effort to slow down and remember to value those around us. And in the meantime, the whirlwind of time flies by.
Compared to life on this planet, that’s not even a miniscule particle.
Compared to being without someone, it’s an eternity.
1,095 days without Sam in our lives. 26,280 hours since all those tiny candle flames lit up the bridge over the river so his spirit could find his way home in the mountain dark.
I wish I could shape time for those I love, those he left behind. Speed it up or slow it down, or simply ease its passage. But like the river that took Sam, time keeps just flowing around us and we are powerless in its current.
For his mother, who swims those currents, I hope that river holds you in its flow and that you find beauty in its depths and healing in its passage.
Wherever you are, Sam, it’s the time we mark your birth, your arrival into our lives. No matter how much time passes, we are grateful for the years the universe granted us, and I’m sorry we took that time for granted.
I wanted to hug you, Sam, that last day I saw you, but I was afraid of embarrassing you in front of your friends. I will always regret that decision, no matter how much time passes.