I drive your car now, the Cadillac. The very one that I teased you about. I remember saying that you were too young to drive such a car at only 63. ‘Cadillacs were for old people’, I said. I still see them, the clones of your car, and even though I’m in yours, I still look for your burst of blonde and your bright grin. I wait to see how fast you’re going so that I can scold you for your lead foot later. I miss that lead foot.
I fell in love with her a few months after you passed. I made a weekend trip to Nashville and began to truly appreciate her smoothness, her dependability, but most of all- her power. Her power was like butter for my crusty bitter grief, like a soft and sleek lubricant for my blistered mood, and fast couldn’t go fast enough for this used-to-be granny driver. There is something consoling about speeding, something that screams ‘Life is short. Make it count. Feel alive!’. Anything that reminds me of your warm hug, your proud smile, and your glassy eyes that almost never shed a tear have been like blankets I carry along to console me when the world turns cold.
I’ve driven our car now on lots of trips. It carries me well, with lots of room for all of my baggage, warm seats for my cold rump, and lots of nifty compartments still housing your chap stick, your lighter, and your hand cream. You might even say that I’ve accepted this granny car with open arms.
There is a downside to our Cadillac. You’re not in there.
If I go with someone else, and pull back into our parking lot at work and see your pearl white heap of pride, I feel instant giddiness like I did when that car was a beacon of hope because you were inside our office, waiting to direct me, waiting to fill my ears with your laughter, your gossip, or your story about the movie you slept through last night. It’s like that dream that you really wanted to have, only you had to wake up and face the reality of it’s falseness, only to realize your heart was broken again. It’s like being dumped over and over and over and over….
Would I change those memories? Would I erase them from my mind? No way! I carry you with me regardless of whether or not I carry your ‘stuff’ or not. Those things no longer matter to you. I do. I always will. The fact that I’m a mom too tells me that.
So when you’re up there watching only the happiest moments, when your legacy swoops in and fills me with the courage I never summonsed in your lifetime, that’s when I feel you the most. That’s when I know. This is our Cadillac, and yes…you are still driving. 😉