We are all just a car crash, a diagnosis, an unexpected phone call, a newfound love, or a broken heart away from becoming a completely different person.
How beautifully fragile are we that so many things can take but a moment to alter who we are for forever?
There must be a few times in life when you stand at a precipice of a decision. When you know there will forever be a Before and an After. I knew there would be no turning back if I designated this moment as my own Prime Meridian from which everything else would be measured.
Like many of you, I have had more than a few of these “Before and After” moments, though at first I didn’t recognize them. As they’re happening, you sometimes don’t… especially if you’re young. When you get older, like me, you see them for what they are: gaping wounds.
When I was young, I knew that my grandmother’s death would be a defining moment for me. I used to say you might as well throw me onto my grandmother’s casket and bury me with her. Yes, dramatic. But, that’s how important she was to me. By the time she actually passed (at 93) it was a totally different feeling. It was time for her to go. She was in pain – emotionally and physically. I prayed she would go peacefully.
Years earlier, my son was diagnosed with disabilities, my best friend and my mother went through breast cancer surgeries and recoveries… all Before and After (B & A) moments.
But in 1999, everything I knew and loved came crashing down on my head — most of it from own doing. When the dust settled in late 2000, I ended up in Canada.
And all the B & A moments that occurred became: Before I moved to Canada and After I moved to Canada.
Until 2011, when my son attempted suicide. And then 2014, the year I’d give anything to do over. I’ve talked about what happened HERE. Two very bad years that created a bunch of B & A’s… so many that I get dizzy spinning around… before after before after before after.
My most recent B & A began in December. My dad fell… a simple, silly fall… a loss of balance while doing something so mundane… vacuuming. I first mentioned it HERE. He’s still in a rehab hospital. He’s still in a cast and has open wounds. He’s still not quite his usual self and may never be again, which is the most difficult thing to process. I live thousands of miles away… and have been worrying from afar, calling every day and saving my pennies to go see him. I will get a short visit later this week. Can’t wait!
Last week a lifelong friend died. I’ve talked about that, too. She wasn’t just a friend… she represented my entire early adulthood. We worked together. We danced and partied the nights away. She introduced me to my late-ex-husband. She was there for me, time-and-time again. There is only one person left from those early years… my ex-husband’s sister. She is going through chemo right now.
As I write this, I realize that all the B & A’s are blurring together.
As I near sixty (at the end of this year)… there appears to be only one Before and After: Yesterday and Tomorrow. All the stuff that came before and all that’s yet to come.
I can see my past as being full of regrets. Or, I can use it as a springboard to transformation.
I choose transformation.