Before & After


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When life-changing events occur, we tend to look at the timeline of our lives as “before” and “after” that event.  That is especially true after a major loss.

I’ve said before that I can’t believe it’s been three and a half years since he died. Years.  Years!  There are 365 days in a year.  Times 3.  That’s 1,095 days, plus six months, plus twelve days.  That’s a lot of days. So many days and yet, in many ways, it’s all gone by in a blur.  Remember VCR tapes, and how if you pushed fast forward you could still see things moving, just in a blurry way, but you could still tell what was happening?  That’s what it feels like.

This is the first week of fall. For the third time, it feels like I’ve never had a summer.  I don’t think I’ve even touched my swim suit in three years! The days turn into weeks, turn into months, turn into years (wait, that’s a song…. thanks, John Denver.) and before you know it, you can’t believe how long it’s been.

Someone might mention an event, and it immediately becomes an instance of before or after. Did that happen when he was still here or after he was gone? Or you look at some photos or Facebook memories, and you have to look at the year to remember, was he here for that or was that after?  Strange….

A friend told me recently that I’ve become a new version of myself since he’s been gone.  It’s true.  I’m definitely not who I was when he was here.  A lot of the change has been for the good, at least in terms self-confidence.  But I wonder sometimes what he would think of the changes.  Would he even recognize me?

Another widow friend told me one time that she still wears the same fragrance she wore when her husband was alive because, when she dies, she wants to be sure he recognizes her. I still wear the same fragrances, too, although not for that reason.  But as much as I’ve changed, I might make it the reason!

Change can be good, but I sure wish life would slow down a little so I could enjoy it a bit more.  I miss the before and sometimes, when I’m trying to fall asleep, I imagine conversations with him about the changes around here and what his response might be. But this part of the after isn’t so bad. If only there was a way to enjoy things a bit, instead of still just surviving.

The next part of this journey may prove to be the most difficult, as I face the very real possibility of selling our family home and moving to something smaller and more suitable for me.  This is going to be difficult not only for me but for my son. More memories and more letting go. I wonder if it will ever get easier.

I thought of putting a before and after photo at the end of this post, but the after would be surprising. There’s no doubt this journey has aged me.  Still, onwards and upwards!

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