There are two times in life when we count by halves. One is when we’re under the age of ten, and we’re half way between one birthday and the next. We’re still young enough for it to feel as though a year stretches on forever. So making it a whole six months more is worthy of being marked and counted. “I’m six and a half!” says my friend’s daughter with great pride. I’m excited for my friend’s daughter, because I remember.
The other time when we count by halves is after a loved one has died. Time slows back down to a crawl, as the days stretch on into weeks, and then into months. It feels as though that first year’s end will never come as we march through each holiday, birthday, celebration and sadness–each for the first time without that parent, child, friend, or loved one being there to share it. My friend who recently died, left a twenty year old daughter to begin her counting by halves again. “It’s been two and a half months since my mother died,” she cries to me. I cry with my friend’s daughter, because I remember.