Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Even the skies know

Unable to see
Laval, QC
February 2013
This is the view from the 12th floor balcony of my in-laws' condo, just a few hours before my mother-in-law's funeral. I woke up alone on this dark morning and trundled out onto the snow-covered balcony in my jammies, not because this was a particularly inspiring or happy scene - it wasn't - but because it reminded me of what life was like before.

When my father passed away a few years back, I wrote about "before" moments and "after" moments. In a whole lot of ways and for a whole lot of reasons, life changed fundamentally when we lost him. And pictures I had taken before that day seem to have, in retrospect, taken on a different, more innocent tone. As if we had no idea what was about to happen. Or maybe we did and simply chose to ignore it. Whatever.

Well, I'm back to thinking about life in terms of befores and afters. Because it represents a simple way of dealing with something that is anything but simple. Because the before pictures from this balcony (please see links below) represent something decidedly warmer than the after shot at the top of this entry. Because the before moments were shot around dinnertime, with me bouncing out of my seat in the dining room after noticing the setting sun doing something particularly lovely, grabbing my camera with barely a word and heading for the sliding door.

With my mother-in-law nodding approvingly, I'd shoot quickly to capture whatever I could, then rejoin the family at the table. I'd often share a quick view of my screen with my mother-in-law, who would then suggest which ones needed to be posted here.

On this morning, there was nothing spectacular happening in the sky. There was, in fact, no sky. My mother-in-law wasn't here. No one was nodding approvingly. No one was around to look at my screen and choose the best ones for a blog entry. Somehow, it struck me as a sign that we were very firmly in the land of the afters. Somehow, the sky knew that today wasn't a day for visibility, brightness, warmth or sharing. And yet again I had no clue how to tell the story from a place that had once been drenched in sunlight, but was now bathed in an uncertain fog.

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Winston Smith said...

Very well written post, Carmi. You really gave my brain a good stretch with the before and after perspective....

It's something that is true of any life event or any moment in time at all, significant or not. We're continually on a razors edge that is sliding through "before" and bringing us to "after". Unstopping.

My condolences again for your family's loss.

dean said...

Not much to say, except that I understand exactly what you are saying.

Dawn said...

Before and Afters are so important to understand the Now.
Take care.

Unknown said...

Sometimes your writing and your insights make me cry. Sometimes when I read your excerpts I somehow feel less alone in this journey. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world. You make the world a deeper and more insightful place... And for that I am eternally grateful...

Kiwi Nomad said...

Carmi, Clearly your mother-in-law was a deeply loved woman, whose passing has left a deep emptiness in the lives of all in your family. My sympathy in your loss. Margaret