91: All in Good Time

91: All in Good Time

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

All in Good Time

Time is a physician that heals every grief.


After my father was gone I visited Mom more frequently. Eventually we began sorting through Daddy’s belongings and Mom gave me his watch.

“You take this, Annie. I know you will appreciate having it someday.”

She placed the watch in my hand and my fingers closed around it. I recalled him slipping the watch over his calloused hand every morning as he descended the stairs to start his day.

“Thanks, Mom,” I said, trying not to cry.

I put that big watch on my wrist even though its large face and its extra wide band looked comical on me. I didn’t care. My father wore it every day and I resolved that I’d wear it every day, too. And there it stayed no matter the occasion. When I went to bed I’d slide my arm under the pillow and listen to the rhythmic tick, tick, tick that eventually lulled me to sleep.

On the first anniversary of Dad’s passing, I noticed the watch had stopped at the exact time of his death — 5:17 p.m. It occurred to me that this might be Dad’s way of telling me it was time to move on. I put the watch in my jewelry box.

During that second year after his death, I helped my mother downsize. She gave away or sold most of her furniture, readied the house for sale, and found a new place to live in a retirement community. Even though she would be without Dad, Mom was looking forward to making new friends in the retirement community.

I didn’t realize it at first, but slowly the cloud of grief was lifting from my heart, too. Mom and I would often end up in a fit of laughter recalling one incident or another with my father. Still, I wanted answers. I needed to know he was happy even though he’d moved on. I prayed often for his peace and happiness but accepted that I’d never know for sure.

Mom was well settled into her new life and carrying on as best she could when we neared the second anniversary of Dad’s departure. I hadn’t thought of the watch in months. Then, one day, I came across it in my jewelry box. I picked it up and discovered to my astonishment that not only was it running, but it was also showing the correct time and date. How could that be? It had stopped cold right on the very first anniversary of his death. I’d looked at it a few times since it had initially stopped and the time and date had never changed. Yet now it was keeping perfect time.

Dad’s watch continued to run perfectly, never losing a minute, for the next ten years. Watch batteries just don’t have that kind of longevity When that watch came roaring back to life long after it had stopped, Daddy was letting me know loud and clear, “Don’t worry about me, Annie, I couldn’t be happier.” Of this I have no doubt.

~Annmarie B. Tait

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