13 October 2011

The Time Traveller's Wife

Greg was eighteen months older than me. I was always conscious of that, not that it is much in the grand scheme of things, but I always used to imagine him being on this planet eighteen months before me and therefore getting a sneak preview of life before I ever came along. (Not that I knew him at that age, of course. We only met when he was almost 22 and I was 20.)

It coloured a lot of our relationship. He was the older one, the wiser one and I therefore let him be the responsible one when it came to decision-making. He didn't lay down this arbitrary rule. I did. I made my feelings felt if I disagreed with him and often got my own way, but tacitly, he was the older one and therefore the one whose opinion I valued and trusted.

Greg died 6 weeks before his 61st birthday. I now stand 6 weeks before my 61st birthday. I have caught up with him. It seems a strange feeling. From now on, I shall be older than him, grow older than him. I may possibly grow to a very old age. He never will. He will be eternally locked in the age he was when he died. From now on, I shall get to experience or witness things that he will never see. The tables have been turned. I have already found it upsetting that he has missed major events of the last eighteen months. He was a radio journalist for all of his career and would have been intensely interested or excited about such things as the Lib-Con coalition, for example, the sweep of conflicts across North Africa, especially the Libyan war, the London riots, the demise of bin Laden,the financial recession, the euro -debate, to name a few. I can just hear his comments in my head on all of those things. Yet he will never experience them, and I have. I have become the older one. Perspectives have changed.

16 comments:

dulwich divorcee said...

A very strange moment, and I suppose you must be more conscious than ever that you are going forward without him. But going forward you are - a lot of possibilities out there and 61 is the new 41!

Furtheron said...

An odd moment for you...

I find it odd looking back on things like that. 13th October 1984 my father passed away - he was 59 I was 22. Now I'm 49 and been alive longer without him than I was with him - I still would give anything to see him again and show him my house, his grandkids and what they are doing etc.

I have others I've lost from my life like that - the brother-in-law I never had, I wonder what life would be like 30 years on from his very untimely passing.

It's always harder on the living.

Her said...

This made me cry. It's a shame that alcohol can take a vibrant, intelligent person and thurn him or her into a slave. I know this all too well. But, you can experience life to it's fullest. Honor him by doing just that.

Spencer Park said...

A sad time.

Not really sure what to say but sending a virtual hug.

Working Mum said...

A perspective I've never considered before.

My husband will soon be the age his father was when he died; you post has taught me to be sensitive about his reaching that age.

Nota Bene said...

I know exactly how you feel - my wife was a few months older than me, and even now I sometimes think of the things I have seen and experienced that she never will

Kelloggsville said...

Deep thoughts. this has sent me into many thought tracks. I have no words of wisdom just endless wondering about what might have been, could be, would like to be...sending love

Linda said...

I love this post. It feels strange to realize that you are the older one. I experienced the same thing when my older brother died. I was suddenly hit with the fact that I was now the oldest of the family. Both parents were gone and then he was gone. I always turned to him for advice, now my younger brothers turn to me. It's such a giant responsibility. Most times I just wish I could ask him what to tell them.

DogLover said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DogLover said...

I often wonder what I would say to my father if he came back at the age he was when he died. I am now some seven years older than that and I live by myself in the old family home - well, I can't be bothered to move! - and I'd love to show him how things have changed.

Polly said...

A momentous day. I'm glad you can hear his comments in your head. Sounds like he'll always be with you in spirit.
God bless.

Nechtan said...

Hi Addy,

A lovely post. Sad too. I think that aspect is hard. I remember my gran finding the death of her son harder to deal with than that of her husband and could not understand why at the time but that is the very reason you gave.

I hope your years ahead do bring many wonderful things and although I'm not spiritual in any way I'd like to think Greg is still there beside you seeing it all.

All the best

Nechtan

Ellen said...

A beautiful post and I echo Polly and Nechtan's sentiments. Greg will always be with you as long as he is in your heart.

nuttycow said...

What a strange feeling that must be. However, I have no doubt that you will deal with the new change as admirably and with the strength you have shown throughout.

Flowerpot said...

I can imagine how you feel - I have a way to go to catch up with Pip but I suppose it's another milestone isnt it? Take care xxxx

Fresh Garden said...

A sad time, sigh...