Sunday, August 15, 2010

Before or After?

Did Art die before or after Pallas hit five feet?

Did he die before I bought the new underwear or after?

Was he alive when Google offered that new earth maps feature?

Was I friends with her before or after Art died?

Was he alive when Langton said __________ or Ezra did ______?

Before or after?

This is the new question I’ve been asking lately.

And most of the time I can’t remember. And it surprises me.

Not so much in the asking of it but in my inability to answer it and in the fact that not being clear is so much a part of moving on. The little details of our life together is losing its color.Not being clear is also disheartening.

And with my inability to answer the questions, he fades into the background just a little bit more. I lose him every time I can’t remember if it was before or after he died.

He gets fuzzy like I’ve had too much to drink.

In that fuzziness, I grow anxious and scared and sad and disappointed that my life is this one. A life that is trying to wrap itself around the fact that he is never, ever coming back.

In that fuzziness I become exhilarated and joyful and find strength as I claim this new life that is opening up before me and is filled with a more dynamic, wiser, YAHOOY me.

My life:
…clear and fuzzy.
…with Art, without him.

April 16, 2009 was the last day he made an impression and its’ starting to fade.

There is ease in that knowledge.

There is sadness in that knowledge.

And I again re-learn, remember and prove to myself that opposite emotions can exist in the same thought.

Did I learn that before or after he died?


  1. I've asked myself many of the same type of questions, before or after? But each time I ask myself the questions, I just feel sad and overwhelmed. For me, there is never exhileration or joy. I am proud of some things that my sons and I have been able to accomplish on our own, but my husband being here to witness them would have made every accomplishment even better.

    This is a good example of how we all follow similar grief paths yet each one is unique to us. It sure is interesting to observe.

  2. Today marks 5 months since I've known Jonny was gone (he died the 14th but I didn't know til the 15th). Anyway, I find myself always measuring my life by before he died and after. And I already am getting fuzzy on some memories. What kills me is when I think about asking him "Hey babe wasn't it that time when we... that xxx happened?" And then I realize I can't ask and I have to rely on myself to remember and end up super anxious that I"m going to forget everything. I know there will come a day when I stop trying to ask, or ya know maybe there won't, but maybe I"ll become more comfortable with not being able to... Who knows, the future is fuzzier than the past, that's for certain.

  3. So much of my life is before us and after us that I realize that he will soon be just a blip on my timeline.

  4. Annie... I feel the same way! It is hard to imagine that my Dan is just a chapter in my life. For six wonderful years, he was with me everyday... only for seven days were we apart. Being away from him for 14 weeks and counting has been so painful! I can't even seem to remember his voice sometimes. It feels like a lifetime ago when I saw him! Will it ever get easier???

  5. @Missing Gabe, I am sorry for your loss. 14 weeks seems longer than it is and I felt in the first months that it was actually harder to remember things than it was as time went on.

    It's been not quite five years now, and it does get easier in many ways but it never really loses the power to pull you up short every once in a while. Those moments though are few and far between for me.

    What got me through was holding onto the idea that it would eventually be okay and I would be happy again. And it was and I am.

    Be easy on yourself and take it one day at a time.

  6. I do the same thing...was Mike alive when that happened? I look at dates on things...yeah, that was when Mike was sick..that was when Mike was in the hospital...counting weeks, this Thursday 68 weeks....68 weeks ago our last Sunday at home. People think its morbid...I dream, sometimes not good dreams....sometimes I feel I would be better off gone myself. This is just so painful. My heart is not broken, it was ripped from my chest.

  7. I like this post, because I think anyone who has any distance from their loss experiences this. I describe my journey this way. At first it hurt to remember the past,yet I did not want to forget. I could barely deal with the present. Then I could remember the past and smile, and the present did not include thinking always that it was missing my husband, although I could not see myself in the future. Now after almost a year I can imagine myself in the future and even dream a little. But I also know that I will always have some saddness over what could have been and times that still hit me hard and make me cry. I know this because I lost my mother 23 years ago and at times I still miss her.

  8. I always say this! Why do I feel the need to now measure my life by his death? Then I realized how many times have I said before I had kids... or before I was married... Its just this isnt a step forward, its my life coming to a screeching hault. We were only married for a year and a half, together for 3 and now at 10 months out I am having to come to grips with the fact that there will be a time that I am without him longer than I was with him. Scary.

  9. I have been doing the same questioning lately. Thank you for putting it into this beautiful perspective!