WHEN TIME HOLDS NO MEANING IN EARLY GRIEF

Posted by Katrina Taee Katrina Taee
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Face on a Clock Face, time, missing time, blanking out, grief, shock, early grief
When your life goes on, as it does, with the daily routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner, work and play in various guises, or parenting versus you moments, time is not something you think about other than perhaps, “is there time?”, “what time is it?” or,  “I need more time”.

Have you ever had the strange experience that goes hand in hand with early grief and shock that I call, Time Holds No Meaning?

Even if the death of your loved one was expected, there is still shock and disbelief. If the death was unexpected, then the shock and the impact are often exacerbated. There is a period of time when there is a lot to do like planning a funeral, registering the death, sorting paperwork and much more. While you did these things like an automaton, interspersed with bouts of grief and crying there may have been some moments within all of that when you lost time.
 
It might be that you sat down one day to think or rest for a while in your exhausted state.  You suddenly ‘came to’, looked at the clock and two hours had elapsed but you didn’t know what happened to the time or indeed, what you did during that period.  It seemed like you were not present to the clock hands going around the clock face.  You may have been confused as to how that came about or alternatively,  you were pleased that two hours went by with no emotional pain, no yearning, and no crying or dreadful thoughts.

The weird thing about Time Holds No Meaning is that your body seems to disappear from consciousness. What I mean by that is that you don’t feel your body at all, no aches, no hunger, no stiffness, absolutely nothing.

A friend once told me that about a week after her Mother died, she sat down one morning to have her first cup of coffee of the day, in her dressing gown, but ‘came too’ at some point and strangely it was dark again. When she looked at the clock she saw it was the evening time. She hadn’t moved all day, the coffee was still in the cup, she had not been to the bathroom, nor had she eaten. Her mind took her off somewhere else, but where she could not say.

It happened to me once when I was driving after my Father’s death, I suddenly ‘came to’ and didn’t recognise the road I was on.  I had been driving on automatic pilot and had missed my exit and overshot it by ten miles or more. This is why driving can be dangerous when we are in shock, but that is another story.

It can be very disconcerting and disorienting.

Perhaps what is useful is the way you might choose to frame it.  If you initial thoughts are, “that’s really weird”, or “I shouldn’t be lazy”, or “I shouldn’t be doing that because I need to look after the family”, perhaps you could think about it differently?

How about trying these:  “my body and my mind need time to rest”, or “I need a break from the intensity of this experience” or even, “it’s OK to zone out sometimes”.  I should hasten to add, unless like me you are on the road.

What is good to know is that it is a very common experience in early grief and is shared by many, so don’t worry about it, try to accept the ‘down’ time’,  I am sure you had an awful lot to cope with for the rest of the day.

If you are worried by the things you are experiencing after the death of a loved one and would like some time to talk things through, give me a call or email me and we can set up an appointment.

Have you ever experienced losing time, share your story below:

Photo credit: Vincent_AF / Foter / CC BY-SA