Time Just Keeps Ticking

I have an old clock with a pendulum. The clock loses time but the pendulum swings tirelessly. I have been watching that pendulum for several hours – it is a reminder that time marches inexorably forward even when you think the moment you are in, this moment; will never end.

My Dad has just come out of surgery to remove his prostate. It looks like everything went well and so far, there have been no complications. It is a huge relief. Of course, he now has the recovery process to face but with a bit of care and rest he should be fine.

There is another clock with a pendulum in my Dad’s hospital room. A tiny one, you can barely see it, but it marks the passing of time, nonetheless. I know my Dad will take comfort in watching its motion.

My Dad was confident all would be well until he got to the hospital yesterday afternoon for the pre-op schedule. There’s always that moment, isn’t there? Where reality bites.

My Mum was chatting to the nurses and my Dad whispered to me : ‘I don’t want to die yet.’

His surgeon has performed a thousand successful operations. My Dad was worried he would be the one in 1000 whose surgery was unsuccessful.

Natural fears. I tried to be the voice of reason telling him he wasn’t going to die, that all would be well; but his doubt planted a little seed in my own mind and I began to worry.

We do fear it, don’t we? Our own mortality. Even if we say we don’t. Even if we have strong religious convictions. Even if we have a strong sense of spirituality. That thought that comes unbidden that says: one day I’m going to be gone; it’s a sobering one.

My Dad left a note for my Mum. On her pillow. It read as if he wasn’t coming back, as if he had given up any hope of recovery. My Mum was thrown into a panic – she loves him, has done so for 50 years; but I didn’t realise until today how fully she relies on him.

‘He was just scared, just nervous,’ I said. ‘Surgery like this is daunting. His judgement was momentarily skewed.’

‘Take it one hour at a time,’ I said. ‘If you make it through one hour, you can make it through another.’

Each time that pendulum swings another second has gone by. It doesn’t take long for one second to become ten, twenty, sixty, six hundred. The east swing, the west swing. Time bounds and rebounds into every corner of the room.

The tick of the clock. There is a surety in it. When things are in flux, it’s there, as dependable as an old friend, forming spaces that we can fill up with the makings of our lives.

It doesn’t take long for the doubts of night to fade into the sweet song of morning. Maybe time actually is the language of the gods.

27 thoughts on “Time Just Keeps Ticking

  1. My grandparents had an old grandmother clock on the wall until Grand-dad retired. That was the day he sold it, saying ‘I’m not sitting watching that bloody thing ticking my life away for the rest of my days!’


  2. I’ve said it before, Ill say it again…your parents are truly blessed to have such a thoughtful and loving daughter.

    Take care Sel, sending many hugs, G


  3. I’m so glad the surgery went well. I’ve been keeping you and your dad in my thoughts these days.

    I have a lovely old clock with a pendulum. It gongs the hour and once on the half. We tried to figure out how to dampen the sound a bit, because, WOW, it’s loud, but at the same time, it’s the voice of my home.


  4. I am happy to hear the news concerning your father’s surgery. I hope he, your mother, and you are blessed with many more years to be together


  5. I’m so glad your dad’s operation went well! And yes it is natural to have these fears especially through these days! But it is important not to let these fesrs get the best of you. I know exactly how you feel and I can say I have a constant fear in the back of my mind but try not to think too much about it because otherwise I think I would go nuts! You and your dad are in my thoughts!


  6. “…time actually is the language of the gods”
    Or the gifts of the gods? Each minute, each hour a gift.

    Hope your father coems out fine.


  7. Both GrammaJ (my mom) and Mulletman’s folks are aging and 2 outa 3 of them have serious health issues, so we’ve heard these ticks and chimes many, many times. So far, the clocks keep ticking…


  8. It is so true, isn’t it? The inevitable and surefire passing of time can be both a solace and a surprise. Thanks for reminding us to be grateful for the moments that are in the present. Best wishes for your father!


  9. I’m keeping you and your family in my thoughts Sel. I’m glad the operation was a success and I hope that his recovery goes just as smoothly. Maybe his mind can be at rest for a little while now.


  10. Glad to hear things went well… this must be tremendously hard for all involved but it sounds like you are taking care of each other…


  11. I’ve been away from my blob friends for far too long a time. Having never known a living grandparent: both my parents died while I was in late twenties, my only brother and two younger sisters now gone, and, having lived to an age when I’m the oldest living direct ollspring of my parents, I think I have an idea of what you are going through. Death is both kind and cruel and there is little anyone can say to take away your concern and worry over your father. Along wih all you other friends, I, too, wish your father a safe recovery and may you have him with you for a long time to come.


  12. the dark ticking side of time is the language of the night Gods. Frightening and so real it feels.

    I’m glad your father is on the mend.


  13. I’m so thankful that the surgery went well. Now, patience. The hardest thing for me to practice – the one thing I advocate every day. Have faith in the ticking clock – it really does work miracles. hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs


    There is that aspect of a clock – quite maddening. I stayed in a hotel in the country a few years back and it had a Grandfather Clock. I always thought I wanted one before that but the ticking was so loud it put me off!

    Thanks for the hugs. You are very kind. I did get your email. I’ve been off the computer for 4 days. Will respond shortly.

    I love how you describe your clock as being the voice of your home. There is such comfort in the thought of that. Just lovely.

    Thanks, hon. I really hope so too.


  15. TBALL:
    You sort of have to swallow the fear, don’t you? Otherwise it gets the best of you. Easier said than done, I know. I look at how well you have coped with everything that’s been thrown at you and think: ‘I want to be just like TBall!’

    I think ‘gift of the gods’ works better. Yeah, that’s it. Time really is a gift!

    Our good health is so precious, isn’t it? I am so glad the clofck is still ticking for your folks!

    How nice of you to stop by and leave such a lovely comment. I really appreciate it!

    It’s looking good for him so far. It’s an incredible relief XX


  16. GROOVY:
    Clofck is actually a little known Czech spelling of clock. 😆

    That emotional peace is invaluable. I can see why people can become so ill from stress and worry. I hope my Dad finds it too.

    Or the gift of them. I like both. It’s interesting to think about it, isn’t it?

    It’s early days, but so far, so good. Thanks for your kind wishes.

    It is hard but what is good is that the bickering has stopped. The cynic in me thinks it will start up again very soon, but in my heart I hope it has stopped for good!


    Thanks so much, hon.

    Don’t worry about that, I just spelled clock with an ‘f’ 😀
    I am so glad to hear from you. I have been wondering how you are. Thank you for you lovely wishes XXX

    ‘The language of the night gods’ – oooooh, I just got a little shiver. That is fantastic. You do have a way with words. LOVE that!

    Patience is indeed a virtue. I have learned that the hard way. It’s very necessary in this case. Thank you for your beautiful, warm hugs!


  18. Another clock story for you:

    Our new USAF liaison officer rang our office to say she was on the way, and request instructions. I told her come to our office; if we’re not in, leave a message with our clerk, and go and book yourself into the Mess, and get something to eat.

    Thing is, I’d forgotten that we and the Americans pronounce ‘clerk’ differently … The Squadron Leader and I entered the office, to find her standing on a table fixing a sticky note to the CLOCK!

    The Squadron Leader was in like a flash … ‘Nice legs, Lieutenant! If you can make decent coffee, you’ve got the job!’


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