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The Watch

The watch.  All I could think of was his watch, I knew he'd have been wearing it, he always did.  I needed it, as if it held some great key with which to padlock my grief, my heart just had to have it.  And as my eyes fell upon it, I had a knowing that he'd been wearing it and I reached for it and clutched it to my heart.  The pin for the band broken, probably upon impact, tearing the leather. And there was a deep scratch on the crystal, these, the only evidence of that his breath had passed from this life and into the next.  The second hand ticked steadily on as if nothing had happened.  I almost wanted it to have been damaged, just enough to have stopped those ticking hands, to stop time, to mark the moment that a piece of my heart had been torn away. Broken, shattered, time was now warped for me. Yesterdays are now the only tomorrows I have with him.

The watch seemed too heavy in my hand.  Oh, yes, it was a large watch to be sure.  He liked them that way.  He loved watches and had collected a few but this one, this one was one of his favorites and he wore it most often.  And though large on his long, thin wrist, it suited him well.  He'd shake it down mindlessly as he talked (he talked with his hands, as I do, and in his gestures the weight of the watch would lodge it just a bit too high on his arm) then he'd reach over with his right hand and settle it "just so" into the niche of his wrist.  The black leather and black face adorned with gold were dashing yet practical, over-the-top, yet ruggedly elegant.  Reflecting the playful maturity beyond his mere years...  I wonder if it was really the time that the watches represented that made him love them so.  He seemed to know the great value of it and let little pass unnoticed, unused.  He was not careless with it.  He spent it well investing much of it in the lives of others. I wonder if that's why he really liked the large, heavy faces.  Were they reminders of the great weight of time?  That heavy, bold, bobble that silently tracked its passing?  I turned it over and over in my hands.  Seeing it on his wrist that night.  Wondering, and not wanting to, how it came to be broken.  I needed to feel the weight of those last moments, to be reminded of just how fleeting is time.

I waited in awkward silence as the jeweler finished a repair for the man ahead of me.  He waved me to the side as he walked over.  I didn't know how to form the words, I just held out the watch like a limp broken doll and bit back tears.  It felt so light as he lifted the timepiece from my hands.  He pointed to the torn leather and reached for a new band.  My heart stopped and tears surged and breath caught, causing him to look back.  All I could do was wave a silent hand and point to the tiny pin.  He looked at me and saw. He lowered his eyes as he turned to a drawer on his workbench. I could see him holding time, counting it precious as he slipped a new pin in place.  He seemed to pause before turning back to me. He showed me his work and as I reached for my wallet, he, waved his hand to me, and he caught my gaze as silence passed between us, he, laying the great timepiece back into my hands. There was no need for words, and I was grateful, for tears and love and sorrow and gratitude all arose together and lodged in my throat.  So instead I braved a weak smile and nodded my thanks for his simple yet grand gift.  I couldn't wait to bind it to my wrist and was fumbling to do so.  The leather worn, formed to another's, uneasy to relent to mine.  The jeweler reached out, and kindness had hands that buckled the giant keeper of time to my narrow wrist.  He turned my hand over & patted it silently. He nodded, then left me to myself.  I never knew how heavy time could be.  The weight of it was comforting as I clasped my right hand over it, pulling it to my heart.

But as the silent hands ticked and tripped, rounding the black face, chronicling not only passing hours, but days slipping by it seemed to grow heavier.  The weight of it often caught me off guard as I moved through my day, it's breadth binding my wrist, often awkwardly banging here and there, the knob driving into the top of my hand, and then the fear that the tear in the band would finally relent...  Oh, how I wanted it to be comforting.  But alas, the truth is, time is no comfort at all.

And I slipped it from my wrist, releasing myself from its grasp and let it rest beside my bed for more than a month as pondered the great responsibility it was, all the while beginning and ending each day solemnly acknowledging its presence but weak to accept it.  And the sand has slipped and the hands have turned and the orb has set and one day has bled into another and no thing has marked the passing. And a page has turned and weeks have become months and it has been a mere blink, and too much and not enough, have filled the space between. And this morning as I gazed upon it, a fleeting thought came, but I let it pass by - take it up and bind it on.

Oh, my heart yearns to live in every moment full and purposed.  I look about at dishes and at books and at emptiness and wonder how can I fill these moments with more?  More in each one, because they are numbered and limited and final and there must be more to be held within its boundaries.  I sit in the quiet and recoil from it, for it also means I would have to hear its tick, tick, tick, and I fear the sound of time slipping by might drive me mad, instead of driving me on...

There is no true escape.
Either we must bear the full weight of it and spend it with great calculation and strategy 
or cast it off and live free, yet doomed as it still drains away...

He chose to wear it, bear its full weight. Valued it.  Spent it, lavishly, knowing full well, once gone by, never to be again.

And I think I will pick it up, bind on the timepiece on again and let its unaccustomed weight, its binding, the relentless dig to be acknowledged, comfort me and sometimes I will shake it down, and reach over with my right hand and set it "just so" upon my wrist, cherishing the  moment. It, anchoring me to the present and even the past.  Driving me to see, to chose, to spend well.


  1. My heart is heavy and broken for you, with you. Thank you for sharing your journey. Your bravery to see and share through beautiful words buoys my faith.

  2. My dearest Robin ,i have no word to ease your pain love , you are in my heart and in my prayers,and know your heavenly father rocks & cradles in his arms in those painful times of brokenness

  3. I have no words to comfort the sister who is my rock. But the Lord does. He sees. He knows. He feels. He restores. He redeems. He comforts.
    I love you, sissy.

  4. What a great tribute to your son and so eloquently written. My son died 5 years ago. I wear his t-shirts. God bless you.


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