On death, time and love

In recent weeks I’ve been reading “The Order of Time” by Carlo Rovelli, an Italian physicist who has devoted most of his life to the study of time and quantum gravity.
It’s thanks to the high understanding of these concepts that he’s able to break them down and explain them in a simple but beautiful way to a non physicist like me.

It is within this poetic description of time where I found a paragraph that resonated inside me. In it, Rovelli talks about one of his colleagues and how he can’t speak with him anymore since he passed away:

“Because he is no longer here—here and now. This is Time for us. Memory and nostalgia. The pain of absence.
But it isn’t absence that causes sorrow. It is affection and love. Without affection, without love, such absences would cause us no pain. For this reason, even the pain caused by absence is, it the end, something good and even beautiful, because it feeds on that which gives meaning to life”

I can’t recall my first experiences with death. I was too young when death first came to my household and I don’t remember feeling anything. I remember playing around tombs in the graveyard and looking at the crypts. At the time, for a child like me that evoked the same emotions than going to the market… I didn’t know about the void that a missing one leaves until at an older age, death came back.

On every second that passes within those moments of sorrow our relationship with time becomes more complicated: you travel back in it to reminisce and you desperately attempt to move it forward so you can heal. After a while you realize there’s something new inside you, the pain of absence.

It’s through Carlo’s writing that I find myself getting vitality out of emptiness. Because to experience pain you must have experienced love. We must understand that the “time for us” transcends the “now”. There’s no time in love and much like gravity it can alter space and time…

M

In loving memory of Israel, Marín and Chepina.

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