Grief and Time

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.

Three years.

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.

8 thoughts on “Grief and Time

  1. oh my Lisa. Thank you so much for writing these words about him, they reflect so many true feelings about loss. About Sams loss.
    His birthday is coming and even tho 30 years has passed since the day he arrived I feel the anticipation of a huge life changing event, as I felt then. He came in fiery, stayed fiery, focused all my attention like a human prism and retained this quality til his death.
    I’d go through it all again. In a second.

    I waited til my work week was over to read this, it was worth the wait. I want to hold this writing against my heart.


  2. First day of ‘vacation’ today. Read this early. I saved it like a gift that you know you will treasure, fully aware that it will make you weep copiously, as it did. I’d like to ask if I can post this on his birthday. I can do a link to your blog if that works for you. It’s so beautiful and I woke today with anxiety about what do I do on the 13th to honor him. Sharing this would help. Love you Lisa



  3. what beautiful words ❤

    painful and true
    I wish we would be able to see the significance of a moment in the moment… but I guess that doesnt make sense…

    The building manager of my apartment building died from a heart attack a couple days ago. All of a sudden. He had been away recovering from a surgery and we, the tenants were looking forward of seeing him again soon. I wanted to text him and ask if he is recovering well and wishing him well, but I never did. I wanted to let him know, that I would be waiting happily, to have him back, that he was missed, that I appreciated his work and him as a person. I never did. Now he is gone, just like that. I wish I would have sent that silly text message, but I didnt want to intrude on his privacy…

    the river is a good picture…

    Love to you Sabrina!


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