Posted on | August 4, 2011 | 7 Comments
Today I left work early because the tears became too much. It was around ten after four and I cranked up the engine and drove north, though daycare is south.
I took the ramp onto the highway and headed towards Forsyth, thinking about what would happen if I just kept driving and never turned back. I thought about what my life would be like if I just left it all behind.
But of course, I was not leaving anything behind. I was simply heading up to Forsyth to try a new pizza place and bring it back for dinner. I just needed something different.
I drove north, past the trucks and trailers and slow moving cars, seeing the horizon laid out before me, a pattern of asphalt, gravel, Georgia pine trees. And suddenly, I felt free. I felt free of sadness. I felt free of despair. I felt free of him.
But this state is full of him, exploding memories of his face, his words, simultaneously tender, sweet and devastatingly deadly. And as I turned a corner there on that highway, he was suddenly there.
I was a second year law student. He had been to visit for the weekend and had left to go back home. I had a lot of trouble sleeping in law school so, as I often did, I kissed him goodbye at the door and then took a sleeping pill to help me rest. About thirty minutes after he left, my phone rang… it was him. His voice was thin and shaky; he had been in a car accident.
I felt my heart drop into the pit of my stomach and the tears build up in my eyes. A deer had run out in front of him and totaled his car. I was too shaky to drive so my roommate drove me to him, heading north to Forsyth until we saw him there in the median, his car totaled, the road splattered with blood. All I could think as I wrapped my arms around him was that I could have lost him that night. I could have lost him before I even truly had him. It was the first time I realized I loved him… it was the first time I realized that losing him would be my worst nightmare.
And today, I drove past that spot on the highway, forever burned into my memory, and I realized that what I thought was my greatest fear had come to pass… what I thought I could never survive has somehow come and gone and I am inexplicably still breathing.
And though I am tired of feeling this way, I will stop being ashamed and stop apologizing for grieving the end of my marriage.
I should not be ashamed by my tears.
I should not be ashamed by my love for my husband because it brought me my son.
I should not be ashamed for being broken and sad; for being shaky and scared.
I cried over the memory of that not-so-long ago night, tears robbing me of my ability to speak or breathe or see… but then, through my tears, I saw the median pass by on my left and then appear in my rear view mirror, slowly fading into just another spot behind me.
And I realized if I can keep moving forward, even if it means barely seeing the road ahead through my tears, eventually this, too, will fade into a point in my past, a moment… remembered… but faded. If I can keep moving forward. If I can just keep moving forward.
I picked up the pizza and got back on the highway. I turned on the radio and before I knew it, I was back in Macon… never even looking twice at that stretch of road in no-mans land between Macon and Forsyth. It was just another place, just another mile marker on the road that took me back to my home…
Back to my son.
Back to the people and the things that really matter.