I can remember when Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time was published. I recall attempting to read and comprehend the work and gave up in frustration after my own brief time with it.
I recall sitting in classrooms where my eye would settle on the wall clock and note how gravity seemed to slow the upward movement of the minute hand from the half hour to the hour every day. I can still picture my students repeating their own studies of time in my class.
Ask a child who is anticipating some happy event in their life and a response about how time is dragging will be forthcoming. Ask an adult to reflect upon their life and the answer always involves a comment about the fleet passage of years.
Thirteen years seems, feels like a long time and yet something immediate. February 1, 2004 glides effortlessly between the timeline of the past and the immediacy of the present.
Two years doesn’t seem like a long time. It has been almost two years since my wife and I had visited the memorial garden at the Central Church of Christ on Proctor Road in Sarasota, Florida. You know it as the site where Carlie Brucia’s body was recovered. I am happy to say that the grounds of this garden are well maintained. The grass is mowed. The palm fronds are gathered and taken away. Netting has been placed over the stone bearing Carlie’s likeness and its adjacent pool. From the memorial plaques seen in front of the pool, you realize people still visit; Carlie’s story lives on.
Author N. Maria Kwami wrote, “but time soon passes. Even the deepest pain eventually looses its edge in the more vivid reality of the present; then, what once was unbearable becomes strangely familiar. And after much familiarity, it assumes the insignificance of just another milestone, ever marking the journey to higher ground“.
In Love in the Time of the Cholera, Noble Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote of “people…turning into memories, mists from other days, until they were absorbed into oblivion“.
The bleakness of these words is a blow to our hearts. Heartbreak refutes the concept of oblivion, familiarity and insignificance.
There is nothing familiar or insignificant about the loss of a child. Our Foundation works today and tomorrow and the next day to prevent other families from suffering this same heartbreak.
Standing in front of the memorial, my eyes could not miss a sign that Carlie had not passed into mists or oblivion. Poignantly, a single white candle. It’s flame flickering near the base of its tall glass column, gives notice that February 1st, 2004 is remembered.