The End of Before
Until recently I didn’t arrange my life into before and after moments. Before and after’s were the pieces of furniture that I made new again, or the redesign of my bedroom. But I'd never used it to classify my life. Then I read an author’s post about a moment in time where the phone rang and she wished she could go back to before that moment. I prayed that she’d be okay. I didn't know what was happening to her, but I recognized the impact that phone call had on her life. Whatever it was, she would forever be changed. Her life before the phone call and after would be different. Then this year I started to look at life differently. My health was not what it should be. It doesn't matter that I've worked hard for years to get healthy. To eat correctly. To exercise more. To become a better Heather. I knew something organic was happening in my body, something I couldn’t control. So I made the appointment that my gut told me, would be life changing. It was. The doctor told me I was right. There is something organic going on in my body that isn't right. After a couple of hours of talking and understanding my options we decided on a hysterectomy. (See my previous posts titled "Life Moments" and "Oh the feels" for more information.)
This week is the end of my before life. For 36 years I've lived this life. One filled with hopes and dreams of getting married and having children. One fraught with pain, exhaustion and frustration that my body hates me. A life that I'm so thankful for, but has left me dreaming and wanting for more. I've cried, yelled, been angry and even a little bit stabby. Thankfully that day no one came into contact with my fork. 🙃
Still, the end of before has been amazing. I've traveled, made friends all over the world, thanks to my job, and books. I've watched my friends get married and have children. They've even allowed me to be a special part off of their children's lives. I've adapted and overcome challenges, like most people. I even went skydiving. I watched my brother fulfill his dreams of becoming a pilot. Congrats Bubba, all those years of watching Top Gun paid off. (hehe). I've ran a half marathon and dozens of 5Ks. Cooking is my hobby and it soothes my soul, much like my books do. They both provide an escape when I need one.
I'm not sure what the beginning of after will bring, but I believe that it will include all of the things I love before and maybe even more dreams I never knew I had.
Today when I was driving back from my pre-op appointment, all I could think about was my green, broken, buffet that I found for cheap at Habitat for Humanity. I loved that piece of furniture instantly because it had great curves and lines. With a bit of help and love I was determined to make it beautiful again. So I gathered the tools I thought I would need -- a sander, some paint, a screwdriver, new knobs, stain and wax. I took the whole thing apart and started working on it. A couple of months later the piece was transformed. The layers of green and other color paint removed. Three layers of stain added to the top. The base and drawers painted, sanded and waxed. This piece has become my favorite. Through all the love, compassion and hard work, I put into this piece I grew to love it so much. It's beautiful with its nicks and flaws and curves and random holes. And it's mine.
I’m looking at this piece of furniture and realizing it’s a lot like me, or maybe even you. Sometimes we look in the mirror and can't imagine what our life will be AFTER because we’re stuck in the reality that the before has been amazing. The after is an unknown, growing, beautiful process. Allowing ourselves to be open to changes in our lives and breathing through the process is part of loving ourselves through thick and thin.
I have hope and faith that the after I’ll be experiencing next week is just a new beginning. A beautiful beginning filled with less pain and grand adventures in life and love. Until next time, think about what your before and after’s might be and considering expanding on those dreams because we never know when you’re going to get that one call that will flip your before to your after before you’re even ready for it. Be ready for the change. Look at your after’s as a blessing and maybe it will be better than any before you could have ever dreamed of.