A helicopter flew over my house last night.

That should be no big deal, except helicopters never fly over my house. I am left to assume, therefore, that it was likely a medivac helicopter. My eldest had passed a bad accident while she was out and we wondered aloud today if they were connected. We also wondered aloud about a concept we’ve discussed for years.

For the people involved in that accident, the time continuum is now and will forever be balanced on the fulcrum of July 27, 2012. Their life story will be referenced by “before the accident” and “after the accident.” Had we not discussed it, the incident would have been forgotten relatively quickly by us as our lives go on. But now my mind is on those people and the loud, screeching, crash of time stopping, and I wonder if it has begun to slowly re-engage, the heavy cogs creaking as they struggle to make minutes pass into hours and into days.

We are hurricane survivors. We had it easy. Our house was fine, but our home – the place we lived – was decimated. We drove weeks later to a neighboring state and realized with a shock that the trees all stood upright and there were no blue tarps on roofs and there weren’t signs of destruction everywhere. We felt our lungs beginning to fill as we took deep breaths, the stress and anxiety sloughing off a bit as we observed what we had forgotten was normal. For us time had stopped. It took getting out into the real world for the watchworks to begin ticking again.

There’s nothing anyone can do to help someone in that strange and horrible land to start hearing the tick of the clock again, but maybe if I’m aware of it – if I think of that as I pass the flashing lights, or read the news, or hear the helicopter overhead – maybe by thinking of that and pausing to respect the fact that someone now has a permanent time marker, I will be a better neighbor or just simply a better person.

They don’t know it, will never know it, but somehow I think it helps us all if we allow our own clocks to miss a beat or two out of a sense of love and brotherhood for the one whose calendar just changed forever.

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