I remember when my gran died, I scribbled out the date on the calendar that hung in my room – almost scoring through the paper with a big, black X. I was trying to obliterate it – as if crossing the date off the calendar would somehow cross it out of existence, and make it not have happened – but all I succeeded in doing was drawing attention to it: emphasising it, so that every time I was in that room, my eyes were constantly drawn to that big black X on the wall. When I think about my childhood now, everything comes either Before or After that date, which I have never forgotten, even although it was almost 30 years ago now. It was the First Before – but it wasn’t, of course, the last, because the fact is that life contains many of these dividing days, lurking innocently in the calendar for years and years, until one day they’re singled out for a big black X of their own. Not everything that comes After is bad, obviously – life doesn’t work that way – but it IS all After, and wow, but it’s an adjustment.
These photos were taken in the newest After – on the other side of this latest line in the sand, and it felt strangely disloyal to even think about going out and taking photos, even although that’s been the pattern of my life for as long as I’ve been blogging . After my ectopic pregnancy, last December, I remember telling Terry that all I wanted was for things to be normal again: to sink back into my usual routine, as if nothing had happened. Back then, that daily routine was comforting to me: now, it’s just a reminder that we’re living in The After, and that absolutely nothing is the same. So I didn’t want to take these photos, but I did it anyway, because life goes on (Surely one of the saddest phrases in the English language…), and the strange thing about blogging is that the life that goes on still has to be recorded: both the Before, the After, and everything that comes in between.
Of course, one of the hardest things (but also one of the most comforting, I think) to come to terms with is the fact that you never really know you’re living in the Before until you aren’t any more. And while this time of my life feels like the beginning of an apparently endless After, it could just be the start of another Before.
(I mean, probably not, obviously, but you never know, do you?)
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