Before and After

May 25, 2012

That day.

That day our world changed. I wish we could have chosen a different adventure. A different ending. But it wasn’t that kind of story.

We rushed home from the doctor. Packed my bags for the strangest journey ahead. What do you pack when you don’t know where you’re going? How long? What was this for again?

Somewhere down the road a hospital bed was ready. Transfusions and biopsies and a toxic cocktail of medicine were waiting for me. For me.

We could not hold back the urgency. Just as we could not hold back the flood that swept through our house only days before. Strewn with wedding presents, muddy paw prints, unpacked honeymoon suitcases, and photos being hung to dry.

In the centre of the cacophony, we stopped.

We stopped.

Just you and me.

You held me.

And we wept.

Was this really happening? To me? To us?

I’m so sorry.

You can change your mind. It’s only been 11 days.

See that door? You can walk out of it.

You said it could just have easily been you and not me. You said if it had been you that I would have stuck to you like glue.

In that moment you became rock. And I became sand. And you tried so hard to stop me from crumbling. Just like you’ve done for 8 years now. I long to be solid again.

From that day those photos hanging to dry would be known as ‘before cancer’. In years to follow we would look at them with sweet nostalgia. Longing for our world to feel like that again. A small jealous notch would catch our breath as we would look at the people innocently smiling back at us.

And from that day our life was divided up this way.

Before and after.

Innocence and grief.

That day.

The day we met our souls.


{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess WhoaMamma May 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Oh Deb.
So,so powerful.
I hope with all my heart that this journey takes you back to your strongest and brightest self. With your loving rock by your side, that love and strength is the best medicine.
Lots of love to you. x
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Deb May 25, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Wow Jess, your hopes are my hopes – you’ve summed them up so beautifully. Thank you. xx


Ms Midge May 25, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Wow. Powerful stuff. I hope that this is the beginning of a super recovery and that you are strong and well again very soon. x


Deb May 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Thank you Ms Midge. That day was 8 years ago – and yes I am well again (as far as cancer is concerned) – but emotionally I am still recovering. x


Megan @ Writing Out Loud May 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Wow, Deb. You write so beautifully, I can feel it. Thank god for the After. x
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Deb May 25, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Yes, Megan, even though the After wasn’t innocence – it is still bloody After! xx


Leah @ language | lynx May 25, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Beautiful and sad but mostly just beautiful Deb. Your writing is beautiful.
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Deb May 25, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Thank you, Leah. x


Happylan May 25, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Breathtaking, Deb. There is such strength and beauty in your voice, in your words, hope that in time you will feel that strength through your whole being. You are amazing.
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Deb May 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Thank you SO much, Alana. I hope I find strength again too. x


Mary Arch May 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I am so sad about that dreadful line but I am also thankful that there has been so much after. Love you sis. Love that you’re here and writing this. Love that we still get to hear your voice. Love that your children were born and know you. Love that he was so strong and determined to hold on. Love that you didn’t give up fighting. xxx


Deb May 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Thank you sister Mary. Your comment made me cry.


Lee May 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm

What a ride you and your hub have been on the past eight years! I hope the next eight are less eventful, unless it involves winning tattslotto.
Amazing writing Deb… You being sand, him being rock. Meeting your souls… Wow. xx
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Deb May 25, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Thank you Lee. I would make the exception for tattslotto too. x


Kate @ Our Little Sins May 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Oh Deb, what a tough time for you both. And so sad that innocence is gone and there has to be an ‘after’. x
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Deb May 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm

It was tough, Kate. Even though it was so long ago, it is still there some days. Writing this has helped put in nicely away for awhile again.


Naomi Bulger May 25, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Mary has said it all. Everything I wanted to say to you and so much better than I could have said it. Thank god, indeed. x
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Deb May 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Feels weird saying thank you to everyone commenting in this post. I am grateful for loving words – like yours – but I don’t want glory for writing it. I never want to exploit my heartache for glory on a blog post… if that makes sense. Why I am telling you this? Because you’re my friend and I’m comfortable telling you. x


Carli (@tinysavages) May 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I completely get that so I will just add what an amazing person I think you are, and I hope you put some feelings to bed getting it out x
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Deb May 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Thank you for your kind words, Carli. x


kirri May 27, 2012 at 10:59 am

Deb, I have nothing to offer but a few tears, a wishful squeeze of your hand and deep gratitude to the powers that be x
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Deb May 27, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Thank you, Kirri – I will take all of those kind offers. xx


Susan Coin May 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Beautifully written Deb. I think sometimes we have to experience dark times to appreciate life’s joys. What wonderful joys you have with your bright and precious family and they are so lucky to have you.


Deb May 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Thank you Sue. I wish we didn’t have to have dark time to appreciate the joys – but you’re right, we cherish the joys and never take them for granted.


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