The day after your diagnosis.
The day after our last holidays.
The day after your death.
The day after all of the “firsts” without you.
The day after all the seconds, thirds, fourth, fifths, sixth and, trust me, on the seventh day after there isn’t rest. Every day is a new “day after”.
Funny, that I’m writing this blog the day after Christmas. Most people refer to centuries as “BC” (Before Christ) or “AD” (Anno Domini). Interestingly enough AD means “in the year of the Lord” yet many misinterpret it as “After Death”. Doing that skips an entire 33 years of human history. The ironic part is now being widowed brings another melancholy marker in my historical timeline. I now live in year 3 AC (After Clayton).
I’m honest about all the aspects of my journey through this new “After Clayton Calendar”. Most of year 3 AC has been more fog lifting, more venturing out, more random recalling of memories, more tries and more tears because each day is still the new day after.
The difference now is subtle but exponentially significant. This year I’ve been grief gifted with reflection. In the years 1–2 AC, I was unable to look back and learn. There wasn’t enough separation between where I had started and where I now was. Now, when I look back down my road newly traveled, I see a much longer distance walked. The path surrounded by enough tangible terrain, I can physically feel the space from that hallowed horizon.
The past 2 years was a fog of grief. All I could see was in front of me so I fixated on the road ahead. Go towards that widowed-wished mirage ahead and hope you find life saving waters. As the fog lifted, I could start to see to my left, my right and the distance behind me. As if my emotions were painted into the landscape as I walked past, there was a hauntingly beautiful view full of widowed wetlands, vicious valleys, positive peaks, singing streams, barren beaches, thawed tundra, metaphorical moors, jarred jungles, plains full of possibilities and mountains coated in emotions. Minute by minute showed me no progress but, in time, I have truly have moved through a grief geography I never new existed and that I was the actually creator of my world.
What I didn’t realize is that mirage I was walking towards was actually me. I am my own oasis. So now I know, when I have a difficult day, I can reassure myself there is always the day after…