I have been thinking a lot lately about "before and after." We all have "before and after" stories; maybe it is of weight loss or a healthier lifestyle, but it may also be about more serious issues we deal with in life. This concept of "before and after" hit me recently as I read a quote from a book I am reading. The book is "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt. As of this writing, I have not finished the book. I think I will, but the book has taken some understandably gritty paths and I was, at one point, tempted to walk away from the book. However, at some level, I could see myself walking down the paths that the main character has traveled, if I had not experienced the "before and after" of my story.
The main character is talking about the sudden and traumatic death of his mother when he was a teenager: "As it was, she died when I was a kid; and though everything that's happened to me since then is thoroughly my own fault, still when I lost her I lost sight of any landmark that might have led me someplace happier, to some more populated or congenial life. Her death the dividing mark: Before and After." This quote stopped me in my tracks. It was as if the author was talking about my experience with the death of my mom. If you know my story, there were years after my mom's death in which I made poor choices with my life and went down roads that were not healthy for me. I had lost my landmark.
Landmark is defined by dictionary.com as a prominent or conspicuous object on land that serves as a guide and