Sunday, November 1, 2015

Turn Back Time

Today we turned our clocks back one hour. My cell phone and computer both did it for me, but the dozen or so other clocks remain an hour ahead until they are changed.

I always remember which way to turn the clocks by “spring forward” for daylight saving time  and “fall back” to return to standard time. In one place, I saw it referred to as “turn back time.”

Turning back time is completely appropriate for another reason than standard time on November 1. This is the day after Halloween and the religious holiday of “All Saints Day” or as it is celebrated in some countries, “Day of the Dead.”

Is there any better way to turn back time than to remember those who have already passed away? It’s strange that I’ve never thought of this day as the Day of the Dead and never knew much about that tradition. On this day, millions of people will make annual pilgrimages to cemeteries and churches. Graves will be decorated with offerings of sugar skulls, flowers, or favorite food and beverages. Prayers are offered for the spiritual passing of loved ones.

Although I never celebrated the Day of the Dead, for some reason the past week has been an extreme time of reflection for me. On the drive back from my Alzheimer’s Board Meeting, I found myself reminiscing during the hour-long drive over and, again, on the way back.

Who would think something so simple as rolling dips in the road could bring back a vivid memory? Jim used to hit those dips fast enough that my stomach would feel funny. I drove past the house on Newland hill where we lived when our kids were little. I thought about them standing at the end of the driveway waiting for the school bus. I remembered Christmas, Halloween, and sitting around the dinner table. I remembered bits and pieces of the life we once had—before time marched on.

I passed the turnoff to Arrow Rock and thought of the good times we spent there. Remembered the time Jim wandered off during the festival and it took my sister, her husband, and me some scary moments before we found him.

Even before I drove past the cancer hospital, the drive alone made me think of taking my co-worker and friend, Diane, to Columbia for her treatments. That’s a double or triple memory. Diane’s favorite holiday was Halloween and it was with great sadness that the cancer took her on that day.

It is not unusual for a cemetery to evoke memories of loved ones buried there. When I passed Hopewell, my thoughts turned to Frank and Dorothy that we rented from when we lived on Newland Hill. I thought of Aunt Addie who wasn’t my aunt at all, but a wonderful woman who made the best of life in a wheelchair.

I’ve spent most of my life living within seven miles of where I live now. No wonder every curve, hill, and landmark made me think of the people who passed through my life, influencing me, making me the person I am today.

If we really turned back time today—not just for an hour, but could turn it back to a different time, it might not be the miracle that we would envision. Just think, one small change in our past would bring us to an entirely different destiny. We could drive ourselves insane with a thousand what ifs.

When a loved one dies, they take a piece of us with them, but they also leave part of themselves behind. We are left with memories, and we are changed. Remembering good times is a way to appreciate the gift of  love. A productive, happy life is based on what we were, how we cherish what we are now, and the audacity to believe the future will be filled with hope, happiness, and adventure.       

Copyright © November 2015 by L.S. Fisher

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