The concept of time bewilders me. Before Noah my sense of time was pretty simple: 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week, 52 weeks in a year. I used specific times and dates to structure my days and help plan for the future. I was intrigued with much more sophisticated concepts of time from shows like Lost or Star Trek (2009 version). (I’m not a sci-fi fan nor even close to calling myself a physicist, so apologies to those who know more about the concept of time than I do. I’m sure what I’m writing here is very rudimentary.)
On December 9, 2010 my simplistic view of time changed. My world no longer consisted of 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours or even weekdays versus weekends. Time consisted of pumping breast milk, hospital rounds, nurse shift changes, medical team meetings, Noah’s procedures and surgeries, feeding Abigail and Madeleine (my cats), Noah and me video chatting with MLH, and some sleep. I had moments when time flew by. I’d return to Noah’s bed after pumping and then after what seemed like just a few minutes, the next thing I knew it’s time to pump again! Then there were moments when the world moved in slow motion such as when Noah went into cardiac arrest.
Then on January 10, 2011 my paradigm completely turned on its head. The night MLH and I left Noah at the hospital for the last time, the schedule I lived by for the past 32 days no longer existed. My world came to halt; I felt like time stopped. It was taken over by the need to process — I should say try to process — the fact that after almost five months of planning, advocating, caring, loving, and praying for Noah, I lost him. It was overwhelmed with all of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual reactions forcing themselves on me. This was not the case for everybody else, though. The world everybody else lived in continued to follow the Gregorian calendar. Their lives continued to move along. They celebrated birthdays, weddings, promotions and other milestones. They recognized holidays. Their children ended the school year, began summer and then started a new school year. And they had babies.
I don’t know exactly when my world began to move again. I do know that once I began training for Nation’s, I returned to a more familiar concept of time to instill some structure in my life. I created a training plan which had me focused on specific workouts for a certain number of minutes or hours each day of the week and building mileage, strength and endurance over 12 weeks. I was more cognizant of days passing, and I could feel myself becoming stronger.
I also know that after completing Nation’s my world lost some of the stability it gained from the previous few months.
When I actually pause to think about the fact that it’s been just over a year since Noah passed away and 17 months since we learned of his diagnosis (Heterotaxy Syndrome), I’m dumbfounded. My sense of time seems to have three conflicting dimensions: 1. MLH and I’ve been through so — dare I say “really too?” — much during this period, 2. in some ways it feels like Noah’s birth, our time in the CICU and his passing away happened just last month and 3. I feel as though my world is still on hold.
Ever since I was given the green light to workout again, I’ve been exercising to build a solid base and strengthen my injured ankle. And although I’ve not officially begun training for my upcoming races yet, my focus on completing a solid daily workout has helped. Training gives me a sense of order which I desperately need. It helps me stay in touch with the concept of time by which the rest of the world lives.
My time paradigm now consists of 5.5 months or 19 weeks and two days to prepare to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and run 13.1 miles. With each day, each workout session, my world moves closer to Hawaii.