Out of Time

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In the emergency room, after Miranda and I had looked at Patti’s body, a policeman handed me P’s watch in a Ziploc bag. Without thinking, I put it on. It fit perfectly. The next day I took off my watch and never wore it again. But Patti’s watch has stayed on my wrist ever since.

The watch stopped at the moment of her death, 11:20. But over the next week or so, it slowly crawled forward. Each day I would notice it was a minute or two ahead. Finally, it stopped completely, at 11:40.

Sometimes people who don’t really know me comment on it, sometimes snearingly, ‘Nice watch’.This delicate silver watch on my meaty, hairy wrist. I explain it’s my wife’s. I don’t say much more than that. I don’t really care what they think.

As far back as I can remember, I have always worn a watch, usually a waterproof one that I never need to take off, through showers and sleep. Now I ask people what time it is. Or I look around for a clock. Or I just shrug. I’m okay with being late, selfish as that can be.

I am still aware of the passage of time, but seem to be measuring it by a different rhythm. It’s less of a tick-tick-tick, time is passing relentless tattoo and more of an organic drift through the day. I look back each evening and think about what I”ve done, assess its value, wonder if this is really how I should spend what time I have left. I havent made any big decisions about that yet, but I do feel more that time is precious, that it must be savored, and that only I should decide how to mete it out.  Not even a wristwatch has that right.

11 thoughts on “Out of Time”

  1. Danny,

    I was introduced to you by my friend Jane LaFazio. I have been reading your blog since April 22nd. What a time to learn about a new person. I have cried many times while reading about your feelings since you’ve lose Patti. I find that I worry about you if there isn’t a new post for several day, as it is somehow my way of holding your hand from afar, this reading of your thoughts. Perhaps that sounds conceited, but losing someone so important to your life is a mind blower, and I just want you to know there are fellow human beings out here who really care about how you are faring.

    Thank you for sharing the raw parts of life with the world at large. It reminds me that I would be best served to follow my heart and not societal pressures as to how to live my life.

    My best wishes are always with you.

    A stranger in San Diego.


  2. In college my husband had a summer job, digging sewer trenches and laying pipes for a single-family residential development. (Didn’t we all have some terrible summer jobs…way back then?) While at the bottom of one trench, a cave in occurred. He ran and jumped at the end for the top of the trench 20 feet above, but was completely buried not far from the bottom.

    The backhoe driver, obviously, was able to dig him out.

    Since then, he has not worn a watch.

    Every day, for him, is a new day to be experienced fully.

    I hope you can return to your every-day-matters philosophy. Heal slowly. But please do heal. Patti would want you to.



  3. No burden needs to be shared alone if you can shake off your vanity and self-image and accept the help of people who want to give it. (from Everyday Matters)

    Thank you for sharing the burden of your grief. I am deeply moved and reminded that we are all connected.


  4. Dear Danny, I used to follow your blog a long time ago it seems. It was when you first found out about Peanut. I used to LOVE to read your posts. I certainly loved your drawings and your down to earth way of relating to everyone and everything. Then you had books coming out and were very busy with your new life…a wonderful life I could imagine. But I missed the everydayness of what I had enjoyed reading about in the beginning, if that makes sense.

    Now a year or two later…or is it more? I come back to find your blog for an artist friend and find that you have had the precious torn from your life…Patty, and I am so very sorry. Yet now here again I find that thing that attracted me to you in the first place…what is it? How is it different? I find the everday again. I find the essense of you. It is not you I was looking for, but the part of you that was put in this world to remind us that everyday life is worth paying attention to, the details I am sorry that this…Patty’s death is a part of life. I can feel your deep deep hurt, loss.

    Thank You for sharing this time with us…we, the other people in this world still need to be reminded that this too is life. I know that out of death comes life, and that someday yours will begin to return to a new normal. Even joyful again. Thanks again for letting us in to view how you are dealing with this time instead of shutting us out. Linda


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