Tuesday, July 5, 2011

just when you think

that you can move forward...

Well,  most of the time I can get by, because I forget, for a while that anything happened. On the surface.

But I hug my kids a little closer. I called my oldest, who was watching my little one last Saturday. I was driving home from Toronto and I could see ominous storm clouds in the distance, moving into our area. I wanted to know that they were safe, at home. She said to me "Mom, if the storm is bad, I want you to pull over. You be safe, okay."

And we are, more or less, on the fringes. It's like the fraying of a favourite shirt, so gradual and silent, that we barely notice how the cuffs have worn themselves off. An undercurrent of warp and weave that runs a dark line through the brightness of our Ontario summer.

But then I think to myself, "Oh..."

The other day my dad (bless his heart, at 72 he has embraced email, facebook and digital cameras) emailed some pictures to me. They were supposed to be pictures of an outing with the grandkids, my youngest included, to a local safari park. He inadvertently sent me some photos he had taken of the van, at the wrecker's, post-accident. I assume they were taken for insurance, or legal purposes. My dad is not maudlin enough to keep them as mementos.

I can't stop looking at them. I accidentally downloaded them onto my phone, and I can't bring myself to delete them. I don't know why, because I get absolutely no comfort from staring at the images. I wish...I hope that the end came as swiftly as I suspected. I wish...I hope that the young man who plowed into my aunt's van makes amends somewhere, somehow on this planet. I'm not talking about jail time, or the legal system. Instead I hope that he stops at every intersection he encounters and looks carefully to the right and the left before proceeding. I hope he channels his sense of guilt and shame into something positive, works hard to bring the light and love into the world that he so carelessly snuffed out of it.

He didn't look. He couldn't have, or he would have seen the van smack in the middle of the intersection. I've driven through that intersection dozens, probably hundreds of times in my lifetime, never thinking that at any second, a vehicle could come plowing through. I took that road back and forth  from St Marys to London and back every day for almost two years when I was in college. Will I ever go back there? It's inevitable. But I will never cross through that section of road with the same lack of awareness, the same sense of safety that I once possessed.

It's that same awareness that I need to bring to my body, my life, the people that I love. it's entirely too short and unpredictable to bank on a future that may never happen, or that may be altered in a few seconds of ignorance. Live it. Revel in it. Every day.

Before it's gone.


Zebsmom said...

I remember a few years after a man hit my grandmother as she was walking across Queen street thinking, man, this guy has this terrible scene replaying in him mind everyday for the rest of his life. I have the loss and sadness that comes with that loss, but what he has is greater than any law enforcement of civil suit could every do to him. I am sure how he feels never changes, even if he does not feel at fault, but he does feel responsible. It is such a shame, a life lost in this manner...but then again, we are taken when we are intended to be. Grief is a real process. My heart breaks for you.

Laura Lee said...

Your words brought some memories back for me as well, when my brother and dad drove from CA to WA to see me for Turkey Day (several years ago now) and were run off the road on a rainy night by a hit-and-run driver. They were just a bit banged up, tho the truck was totaled. In dad's belongings, when he finally made it to my apartment, was a gashed up apple and some safety glass. I took pictures of those things, and still have the pebbles of glass. I didn't know why either. But I think you finally explained it.