If you asked me a year ago, “do you believe in ghosts,” I would’ve laughed in your face. But that was a year ago and I’m a different person now. So much happened in one year that I was moved to completely alter my belief on something so fundamental as an afterlife. You hear it all the time, “This year was huge! Think of all that happened!” People so often quantify one year by the events that occurred between the bookmarks of January and December. But that’s not really what measures a year, right? It’s four seasons, not four break-ups. It’s twelve months, not twelve achievements. Sometimes we pray for the year to end; other times it passes faster than we’d hope. As we get older, each year seems to pass more quickly than the last. Is less happening, or is our interpretation of time just changing? What really measures a year in a human’s life?
In four weeks and four days, it will have been a year since you left us on this planet alone. I can’t decide if it feels like a century or a blink of an eye.
Just in 2014 over 5,000 people died from ebola. Flappy Bird disappeared from the App store. 19 planes crashed. Colorado opened the first legal marijuana stores in the US. Chris Christie proved he’s an idiot once and for all. US opened airstrike on Iraq and, later, Syria. Kim Kardashian married Kanye West. Israel launched a strike on Gaza. How I Met Your Mother ended. Russia annexed Crimea… and hosted the winter Olympics. Kendrick made a killer goodbye to the Steve Colbert Report. ISIS gained ground in Iraq. #IceBucketChallenge. Michael Brown and Eric Garner sent the country into black and white flames. US and Cuba decided to be friends.
When I think about all of these events, a year feels like a mighty long time. But when I think back to the last time I heard you say “I love you,” when I gave your cold body one final hug, or when my grandmother collapsed in my arms at the realization that she’d lost her youngest daughter it feels like yesterday.
It took me a while to cry. It took me even longer to stop crying. But it took me the longest to accept that you’d never be back. And I know a lot of people don’t believe in ghosts. And in my first 20 years of life, I know I never believed in them myself. But I also know the feeling I get when you’re standing next to me. I know the way your words sound when they are spoken directly at me. And I know how uniquely colorful the world looks when you’re soul is in my presence.
They say time is relative and I believe it. Time is measured based on the velocity of its observer, meaning humans interpret any length or duration of time based on how fast we’re moving in the universe. Suddenly, “time flies when you’re having fun” makes a lot more sense. In addition, according to Einstein’s theory, space and time act in relation to one another. So depending on where you’re located in the universe, your interpretation of time changes.
All of this theory of relativity has me thinking. If my interpretation of a year at any given moment is based on my velocity and spacial orientation in that year as well as in that moment- and I’m constantly changing speeds but always stuck on Earth- how long has the past year felt to you? For a soul that has passed beyond the human limitations of space and velocity, what constitutes the time that has passed since you passed?
I’m wondering, what measures a year in a ghost’s life?