Stubborn Illusion Of Time

Loving skeletons

November 6, 2011

Two recent stories of love and death feel connected. This is absurd considering that 1,500 years and 5,000 miles separate them. But why let facts get in the way of a feeling, a yearning? Last month an Iowa couple married for 72 years died an hour apart while holding hands. The wife died first but the hospital heart-rate monitor kept showing she had a pulse. The equipment was detecting her husband’s heart through their clasped hands. Then came news last week of an archeological find in Italy: two skeletons buried in the 5th or 6th centuries while holding hands. How can there be a connection beyond hands held and the bond of enduring love they signify?

The stories reminded me of a column, “Einstein’s God” that suggests the possibility of something I want to believe: the two couples are one in the same. When Albert Einstein learned of the death of a physicist friend, he wrote to the friend’s family:

He has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubborn illusion.”

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