I drove in the dark yesterday. I visited my daughter five hours away and for my journey home, I decided to leave at three-thirty in the morning. See, the drive up to see her took seven hours because of rain and construction. At the ungodly hour of three-thirty in the morning, no one is out paving expressways and it seemed even a bit too early for the rain. So, yesterday I drove home in the dark.
I don’t like driving in the dark. I have astigmatism that blurs my vision, making it difficult for me to see in the dark. Oh, I see fine enough where I wouldn’t be a danger to me or anyone else. It’s not that bad of one. Just enough to wear weak prescription glasses and to hate driving then.
Truth be told, I don’t really like driving. I mean, it’s okay, but I know people who adore driving. Maybe it’s the city girl in me, you know, the one who took busses and els everywhere until she moved to the ‘burbs…and even then, local driving was fine. Maybe it’s the gal in me who left it to someone who did like to drive, Peter, and time-traveled through the drive by sleeping. But cutting z’s in the passenger seat are forever over, just like Peter. Anyway, whatever the reason, I’m not a huge fan of driving.
Yesterday though, I had to in order to get home. And as I maneuvered my car onto deserted roads with a scattering of trucks on the asphalt and holding onto the wheel with a grip I’m sure a gymnast on parallel bars would envy, I did it. With only the sound of an andriod lady giving me directions via my phone, I drove in the dark, on empty roads.
Driving home seemed more daunting than the drive to see my daughter. Probably, because on the pitch-black deserted roads of the early morning, I felt alone. Absolutely, totally alone. Darkness brings out the emptiness inside us all and, well, really, I was alone. With each uncertain turn, each sudden change of lanes sectioned off by construction barrels, each thick black patch of wall ahead of me, it was only me driving, navigating myself home.
It was a scary feeling and ordinarily, I would pray. I’ve come to realize prayers don’t affect an outcome. Those seem to be already preordained. They may help you deal with the outcome, but from my experience, not the outcome itself. So, I drove on, gaining more and more confidence in myself. Once I got a bit cocky and swerved into the grooves of the road that tells you to straighten up. It was a good reality nudge for me.
Yesterday, I also acknowledged the fifteen-week mark or Peter’s death with an hour plus of deep, from-the-gut sobs. Then, in the aftermath, a constant hiccups of tears. God, I miss him. During this strong grief gust, I thought about how driving home in the dark reminded me so much of my life right now. I know I am all over the place too, trying to stay on one path, life taking me on detours. I even navigate along the barrells Peter’s death set up for me. And, I am all alone in this.
Oh, I have good friends, great friends, and some family members. My kids have been wonderful. But in the end, it’s me. No longer Peter taking my wheel or sharing the ride. It’s just me. My pain. My world. My restructuring. My way of learning how to get from point A to point B. My uncertainty. My trying to figure it all out. No one can do any of this for me. I am on this dark, and scary journey, one I never wanted to take, EVER. My eyes are blurred with tears and my heart is the only thing I can trust right now, and it’s confused and broken. All I can do is continue forward to get to where I’m eventually supposed to go with the most important person in my life, half of me, dropped off some time ago, never ever to join me again.
The sun did eventually come up on my way home. More cars and trucks joined me on the road. I relaxed enough to turn on my audiobook and takes sips of my tea. There were sudden stops and rough patches on the road. Some cars road my tail because I wasn’t moving fast enough for them. Some cut me off because they wanted an advantage. In the end, I made it home.
I know because I am a strong and determined person, I too will make it closer to wherever I am supposed to go. With each hour, day, and week that passes, I hope to get closer. I hate it and will probably continue to hate it. I am and will continue to be blurred by my sobs of pain. I will have, and will continue to have, Grief with me. Grief will never leave me, but I hope to accept it as my passenger in life, one I’ll never let drive me. And I will make it, to wherever “it” is, I’ll make it. For now, though, I’m gripping tight to all that overwhelms, listening to my soul’s whispers of encouragement, and just trying to drive, alone, on this dark and scary path.