Road Trip Redux
Back in 2011 I waxed lyrical on the joys of road trips. I recently reread my blog post and I still think I captured pretty well the joys I have found over the years “on the road”. Yet this past week as I prepared to make the trip to Monroe, I found myself anxious about the drive.
Last Labor Day weekend, I drove Spencer over to Provo to go back to BYU. Tom and Andrew and Haley stayed home from the trip. After getting Spencer settled, I started back home early Monday morning. About two hours into the trip I got a frantic phone call from Haley and after a 911 call I was told Tom had passed away. It all happened really fast and during the whole thing I was driving. I’m not sure why I didn’t pull over. But I was in the middle of no where and I needed to be home and the only way to get there was to keep going. I spent the next couple of hours in shock. Finally the shock began to change and by the time I reached Rifle (still a good three hours from home) I had to pull over. I was sick and crying and couldn’t go any further. I called my parents (who were on their way behind me) and cried but there wasn’t anything any of us could do. No one could get to me any faster than I could get to them. My brother called me and said they were heading up from Denver and would come get me. Eventually I felt a little better and decided to get back on the road. We met in Copper and one brother drove me home while the other drove my car. It was the most excruciating trip I have taken.
Less than a week later I was driving back along the same road as we took Tom over to be buried in my parents’ town. And when I went back home a week later I asked my mom to come with me because I couldn’t face making the trip again without another adult in the car with me.
I’ve always been one to try and face my fears, but this has been a hard one to face. I’ve pretty much quit driving our minivan – partly because I’d rather drive the pathfinder (I feel connected to Tom in some illogical way when I drive it) and partly because driving the van makes me feel echoes of those emotions I went through. I really thought after a couple of trips to Utah (we came out in November) the drive would lose some of its emotional impact, but I finally realized that I wasn’t as excited about spring break as I expected to be and it was because I had to drive here.
I hope one day that sense of adventure that I used to feel will come back. I hope one day the memories of all the great trips we took together will outweigh the trauma of a that terrible day. I’d hate to lose out on all the joy I used to feel when it was time to “hit the open road”.