Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Counting the Months

When Jim and I were PK (pre-kids) we used to laugh at parents who gave their children's ages in weeks or months. Jim thought it was ridiculous that a person would say "8 weeks" instead of 2 1/2 months .... or better yet .... why not just round it down or up to 2 or 3 months. And then .... there were the parents who'd say a child was 20 months. We'd wonder if this trend was supposed to continue indefinitely. Would a parent say their child was 120 months instead of 10 years?!

And then ...... we had our first child ......

..... and never even gave a second thought to saying she was "8 weeks", "18 months" ..... or even "23 months", although we did start saying "almost 2" by then.
And of course we did that with every child ...... and stopped counting in months at the age of 2 or so. By then the "newness" of the baby had worn off .... and besides, by the age of 2, each one wasn't really a baby anymore.

Yesterday was the "20 month" day of Jim's death. Some months this day comes and goes with a bit of pain, some months it sucker punches me so hard I can barely function. Yesterday was one of those days.
I spent much of the day wondering ...."When do we stop counting the months?"
Because I guess I equate counting months with feeling more pain. The more time passes, the less the amount of pain I will feel? So, if I can someday say "It's been 3 years", maybe I'll be able to say that without crying.
Or will I?
When will the "newness" of this event wear off for me? Will it magically melt away when I hit 2 years? Of course not, no matter how much I wish it would. But maybe it will become a bit duller --- the "newness" and the pain will become less sharp.
Month by month.
Year by year.

That's what I'm hoping anyway.
I want to stop counting the months.


  1. Sometimes I can say "My first husband died almost four years ago" as though it was just a statement of fact - which it is and isn't - and sometimes I choke or feel that choking is another few words on the horizon. It depends on the circumstances or maybe the phase of the moon.

    I never could keep track of the months and was always saying "about" or "almost" or simply giving the date of his death. That was just me. He'd been sick for so long that time had stopped mattering.

    Sharpness, in my experience, is always there but the triggers that call it up and the effect it has changes over time.

  2. When I read your post Janine, I thought, wow, I guess one day you do start counting months instead of weeks. Johnny will be gone 35 weeks tomorrow, so eight months. I CANNOT believe he has been gone that long. I still cannot believe he won't walk through our back door. Either way, whether it's weeks or months, it's still a life that goes on forever for me. Hugs to you, Lorry

  3. Janine -- Oh I count too! Although I am way behind you. Sunday was month four. I was surprised that I had forgotten until early evening. Since then, since Sunday, August 16, month four, I marvel that it has been that long, and that short and that hard and sometimes even that easy to get here.

    I will keep counting (although we were that couple that always said 2 and a half or about three months) It keeps me sane and is always proof that I can get through a day.

  4. I know it's not the same as losing a spouse...but i remember one year seeing my dad crying a little (moist eyes)...when I looked at him with a look that asked, "what", he said, "yesterday was the anniversary of the day my dad died, and i didn't even think about it all day." I'm thinking that was probably at least 5 years after my grandpa died, and apparently the first time the anniversary went by unacknowledged...then the fact that he "forgot" became a thing of pain.

    i think it takes as long as it takes, and even then, a little longer. may god bless all of you who find yourself counting months.

  5. I counted the days , then the weeks, then the months. I am still counting the months,27 months have passed. I don't think I will stop counting because I feel that I am that much closer to being with Him. Crazy, maybe, but in so many ways it is comforting to me. I have found time is now not the same as it was before. Some days it feels like he died yesterday and on other days it feels like he has been gone for years. I think it may be that my mind can't take it all in because to do so would be so much more devastating. So counting the months gives me the reality in a time frame and I know I am closer to being with him