I wrote this entry two weeks ago, and only had the heart to post it today. I’ve been writing more again lately, but not sharing as much. The urgency of blogging changed a lot when Vernon died, but I’ve been writing more again lately, just not sharing quite as often. Anyway, here’s is this…
The Mini Cooper was towed away this morning. I watched from the window as the truck drove down my street, two crushed cars and that cute little Mini on it’s back. I had my back turned inside the entire time, the man was moving it from the driveway to the rig, but I could hear the noises: the happy hum of the unsuspecting engine, the platform gears, the clank of chains.
It’s past time, really, to let this car go. I’ve been chewing on the decision for months, if not longer. It started costing a lot, but I’d have it fixed anyway. Then something else expensive would go wrong. Everyone has their limits though. I found mine last Thursday when my mechanic told me the shocking figures for necessary repairs. I’ve been shocked before, but I changed my mind and had those things fixed anyway, believing I couldn’t sell it without them. And then I would decide to keep it. I’ll admit it was a slightly dysfunctional cycle. This time before I had time to change my mind, I called a Donation for Charity center, asked to donate it toward Brain Injury Research, and awaited the day of pickup. At least I’ll get a tax write-off. I’d reached my limit at last. This car was costing me much more than it was giving me.
But the symbolism of that car goes deep for me. First of all, I bought it to go back and forth to Vernon’s care home in Costa Mesa when the other car was having too many problems of its own. Remember? It had the same markings as his helmet, and I liked how the family felt small and close in it. One year, we drove it all the way to San Francisco, packed like sardines.
When it started having problems, though, something else started to happen. I don’t know if I was attaching myself to the car, but I felt the same part of me that used to invest in Vernon’s care starting to get tugged on—a fraction yes, but still part of the same energy that was used to cheer Vernon (and myself) on. “It’s only one more surgery, you can do this. This will make things better. Oh, now we need another one? Ok, yes, of course we will do it.” Trying to make that little engine could. The finish line is a series of finish lines.
And so last week, when I finally realized I couldn’t afford to keep this car going anymore, and it wasn’t going to make it, another part of me was tugged upon. That part that was told Vernon wasn’t going to make it after all that work and all that hope and all that time had been put into keeping him going. I know its not the same thing, but the tenderness of my heart about this stupid car the past few days has reminded me of something similar, albeit far worse, as its going through right now.
Letting go—doing it once doesn’t mean you’ve learned how. You have to learn to do it every single time. The finish line is merely a long series of finish lines that spread out for the rest of your life.