I’m a small-town girl.
My high school graduating class had less than 70 people.
I still live in a small town and in a semi-rural part of that town, at that.
When I got my driver’s license back in 1993, it was in an even tinier town a half hour or so from where I lived. I picked that town because it was so small, that surely I would pass my driving test with ease!
Well, I did. And my test facilitator happened to be the mother of a classmate who chatted my ear off the entire time about how she hated her daughter’s irresponsible boyfriend. We sat in the car dishing the dirt for so long, that my mom thought that I had failed and the tester was giving me large amounts of feedback.
Over the next few years, I would only drive in small areas that I was familiar with. I didn’t even attempt to drive in a place like Portland, OR until I was 32.
My ability to drive in larger areas over the years that followed did improve but it was not something I still felt comfortable with.
My late husband, on the other hand, loved to drive. He loved anything on two or four wheels that had the ability to go fast. He was a gearhead to the core. (We even named our daughter Chevelle, not just after the band, but after the car as well.)
He did the bulk of the driving in the 12 years that we were together, and that was more than fine with me.
I guess that’s why when he chose to end his life, he did so in the driver’s seat of our shared vehicle.
It must have been a place he was used to being.
Or maybe he did it to make a statement about how he wouldn’t be there to drive anymore.
I will never know why he chose that particular spot.
I did, however, take it as a message that I needed to take back my role as the main driver of my life.
The song Drive by Incubus has always been a relevant and motivating song for me, but never had it been more appropriate than after my husband’s death.
For some reason, I had very little fear of driving after Bret’s death. Don’t get me wrong, I get anxiety for just about everything, but not nearly as much as I used to with regard to driving.
I touched on my newfound freedom in a previous post, where I considered my willingness to drive just about anywhere and everywhere a personal win. My ability to drive myself where ever I want to go was perhaps one of the most liberating happenings in my entire life.
I can’t help but feel gratitude towards him for giving me that liberation.
Grabbing ahold of the reins of my own life was one of the most healing things I was able to do for myself.
I would absolutely recommend the same to anyone on a grief journey; take your life back and steer yourself in whatever direction you feel compelled to go.
I feel the fear of
Uncertainty stinging clear
And I, can’t help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear
Take the wheel and steer
Haunting mass appeal
But lately, I’m beginning to find that I
Should be the one behind the wheel
With open arms and open eyes yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings
I’ll be there, I’ll be there…”