What is it about driving in your car that makes you tear up a little? For some reason, memories of my husband always sneak up on me when I'm sitting at a red light. I have other widow friends who have had the same problem.
Is it a song coming on the radio that you didn't even know meant something to you? Is it listening to all of your children call each other various "potty words" at the same time, making you feel overwhelmed? Or is it just thinking, "I could be taking a 2 minute catnap right now if my husband was still here to drive my happy ass around"?
I remember, right after my husband died, the craziest things would sneak up on me as I was driving. For example, there was a road near my house that had been closed due to expansion right before he passed away and for some odd reason he was obsessed about driving that road when it opened. (I have no idea why...must be a guy thing.) But, unfortunately, he didn't make it to see the grand reopening.
I'll never forget sitting at that intersection, bawling my eyes out when the "Road Closed" sign was taken down. I'm sure people passing me must have wondered why I was so completely touched by the fact that I could now go further West on Mainstreet.
Since he's been gone, any time I see anyone crying at an intersection. I just want to leap out of my car and give them a big hug. But these days, my leaping out of my car and running towards an upset stranger could be misunderstood as an attempted carjacking. So until the world becomes a more trusting place, I guess I'll keep my empathy to myself.
Sometimes I wish we all had one of those LED ticker tape signs on the backs of our cars that could explain to other drivers exactly what's going on. Wouldn't that be handy? Like, "Don't cut me off today. I'm PMSing and I cannot be held responsible for my actions." Or, "My 401K just sunk to an all time low so forgive me while I drive 20 mph in a 50 mph zone." And for all of us widows out there, "My husband died awhile back, so don't mind me while I sit in my minivan and have a small nervous breakdown."
I guess until the mobile ticker tape is invented, we all just have to remember everyone has something going on, whether it's cramps or death (which sometimes feels like the same thing). So, before you slam on the horn and give a stranger the one finger salute, think about what they might have on their sign.
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© Catherine Tidd 2010