On his way to a rehab session, Robby had a fender bender. Unfortunately, the damage to the car was far greater than the value of the car so we decided not to have it fixed. We gave it to my sister and her husband as he tinkered with cars as a hobby. Four years later, I received this picture from him, as he finally finished repairing Robby’s car (it will always be his). The picture came over as a text message, and the wave of emotion that hit me was staggering. I feel the need to share these as I know many of you struggle with seeing these things as well. There is also a great story to tell and I have to share it!
The moment I saw this picture, my mind hit hyper-drive, and a flood of memories cascaded, one at a time, vivid as the day they happened. I remembered the day I saw this car on the lot and knew that the red convertible Saab was all Robby. I remember bringing it home and seeing the look on his face (he paid for a large part of it; it was his car!). I remember how he washed it every day and how he lived to ride with the top down. This car was freedom, pride and personal for Robby.
I remember receiving a call while I was in Boston as he told me about the accident; it was OK because he was OK. I remember the sadness when he knew that fixing the car was not an option. I remember seeing the car at my sisters, a few weeks after the funeral, as all of these memories hit me for the first time.
I know that this was not an easy job for my brother-in-law. But I also know that I don’t know how I feel about it. I don’t know that I want anyone driving it. Don’t know that I want to see it on the road or in a driveway. I don’t know that I want anything but for it to be destroyed. I don’t know how I feel about it at all, but I do know that when I see this car, it is my trigger and the memories all come alive. What I do know is that all these feelings and the lack of “knowing” are OK; they are normal and they are my feelings.
This is part of what we live with – think about everything in your home or life that reminds you of your kids. For those that have lost a child, every one of those things resurrects memories and far too often we just don’t know how we feel about them.