Before and After

img_28851There are events that can mark your life as the division of “life before” and “life after”…..

I remember the first time I heard my mom say, “that was before daddy died”. I don’t remember my exact response, but based on stories of my reactions as a 10-year old confused little girl, I likely stormed out of the room and slammed my door. Anger? Fear? Denial? Heartbreak?

Life before daddy died was innocent. Safe. Predictable. Like many childhoods. Softball and swim practices, holidays with cousins and birthdays with friends, summers on Cape Cod and winters bundled up in snowsuits sledding until dusk.

There was no thought of after. No consideration that the certainty of life could be grabbed from us so violently. No warning signs or preparation. Just after. He died. After daddy died.

And so the memories of my 38 years of life are placed in 2 distinct boxes. One labeled Before and one labeled After. Not on purpose. Not because it helps heal or process or categorize. But because that is just what happens. And so I enter my 28th year in the After box. And I still find myself longing for the innocence, the safety, the predictability. But that was Before.


Permission to Grieve


There is infinite space in this world for hurt and pain and suffering. There is sinking and panic and fear. There is missing and questioning and anger. There are layers of protection we build. Armor we don. Perhaps slowly. After the tragedy has passed.  We layer ourselves with protective mechanisms, compensatory strategies, whatever it takes to keep moving forward without busting open the scab. And we try to heal. And the hurt resurfaces. And fear. And anger. And doubt. We long to make sense of this grief. Even that word, grief. Make sense of it? It hurts. It is a pit in your stomach. It is numbness. It is darkness. It is uncertainty.

There is something else that is infinite. It is not rainbows and puppies and unicorns. But it is on the other side of grief. It is comfort and resilience. It is nourishing and strengthening. It is finding abundance through connection in loss. It is why we are all here, longing for a virtual hug, for re-assurance. For someone to say the magical thing that will take just 1% of the pain away, for just one minute.

I am here, finally asking for and giving  permission to grieve. Among friends. And so it begins….