Life goes on...
The old Toyota Corolla parted ways with me last Saturday after logging over 185,000 miles in 12 years.
It was a great car by all accounts. Not once did it require a costly trip to the shop for a major problem placing me at the mercy of unscrupulous mechanics.
I must admit to feeling a pang of sadness mixed with nostalgia as the key and paperwork changed hands. Call it a mere inanimate object, but it still invokes many memories from the past 12 years which encompassed over several major stages of my life.
We've been through so much together.
The most memorable was the day I brought the brand new car home from the dealer's lot on that sultry August day in 1995.
My mother was living with me at the time. After being diagnosed with cancer just two months prior, she was undergoing a particularly difficult chemotherapy regimen at that time.
She wanted to go for a drive. Reluctantly I handed the key to her and hopped into to the passenger side. "Be careful Mom" I pleaded so nervously and prayerfully.
This was my biggest financial transaction to date and it made her very proud. Vanished from her face, albeit momentarily, were the signs of stress from the brutal cancer treatment regimen. Mom had a smile from ear to ear. Her face beamed with pride.
Two months later, I found myself in my supervisor's office negotiating with her to wring out as many days away from the office as possible.
My mother's prognosis had taken a drastic downturn. The doctor had given her an estimate of two months left to go in her 54 years. My sister was in the process of transferring her to a hospice where she was to spend the remainder of her life which was rapidly nearing an end.
My supervisor jotted down on a piece of paper exactly how many more days I could take off. After returning to my desk, I ran through in my head various scenarios of how I could allocate the vacation and sick days left for the year so as to maximize my time at Mom's bedside for the next two months.
Then the phone rang. It was my brother-in-law. Mom had passed away shortly after she settled in the hospice.
I quietly picked up my car key, informed my co-workers of what I had just heard, and walked out to the parking lot to be greeted by the new car.
Soon after that, I found myself on the freeway on the way to the hospice where my sister and her husband waited for me. I looked around while sitting in a typical Southern California traffic jam.
In the midst of the onslaught of raw emotions ferociously assaulting my psyche, here was the one thing that truly dumbfounded and dazed me more than anything.
Here I was: My life had drastically changed. The unthinkable had happened. But yet, The world kept mercilessly moving on as if absolutely nothing had happened. Cars relentlessly poured onto the freeway. Kids from school briskly walked across the overpass. People ran in and out of shops and fast food joints.
My own world had turned upside down, but yet the world refused to stop and pause even for a second to give me time and space to grieve. With bewilderment mixed with shock, that was what I saw through the windshield of the Corolla on the day Mom died.
Two days later, we were in the parking lot of the mortuary after finalizing funeral arrangements.
My sister invited me to spend the night at her place with her family. As I got into the car, my four year old nephew followed me in. He wanted to ride in "Uncle Dave's New Car."
Nobody was more excited about "Uncle Dave's New Car." He loved to ride in that car. And the car continued to enjoy the moniker "Uncle Dave's New Car" for several years until he finally mastered the concept of "new."
Jason just got his license, and he is now the proud owner of what he used to call "Uncle Dave's New Car" when he was four. I gave it to him for his 16th birthday.
Life goes on.