Tuesday, November 6, 2012
When It's More Than a Car
I am writing because this has been a really hard day for Ellouise.
Well, to start, Jim died eight months ago on the 6th of March so this is an anniversary - and what I have learned by watching Ellouise is that anniversaries are very emotional. Even if you don't want them to be. The feelings just flood over you.
Well, if the anniversary wasn't enough - this afternoon she got some upsetting news.
Her car - a 2000 Toyota Sienna Minivan that has carried Ellouise and Jim on many great trips as well as kept them on the road for their dailies for 12 years - smells of leaking oil and she had been warned that it was seriously sick. She took it to her local repair guy who has kept the van going for a dozen years. After four hours he called her at home and told her - "you have to get another car - this one is dangerous to drive and its going to take a lot of money to fix it - if they even can. Its like pouring good money down the drain. "
"You know I don't want to let that car go - for sentimental reasons I want to keep it."
" I understand, believe me, I understand. But I have to be honest and tell you the truth about this car. Its time for you to go car-shopping."
She was sobbing when she hung up the phone. In fact I have not heard her cry as long or openly since Jim died. Is that how this happens - people hold themselves together - and then something happens that taps into all the emotion that has been stored up?
I heard her telling her sister on the phone, "its not fair. I just went through getting his name taken off the title - which also cost $100 - like paying to stab yourself -
and now I have to give up the car. It's like another death.
Isn't one death enough?"
She ended saying, "this is not fun" and I have to say I can understand why she feels that way.
For the moment things have quieted down and she is researching cars on the computer. She has narrowed down a few things that are important for her in another car . She wants a safe car - one that sits her up high like her present van and wraps her with lots of metal. Oh, yes and she wants a car that doesn't cost a fortune.
Ellouise has never bought a car by herself and she admits that she doesn't know very much about the the mechanics of cars. When she looks at the cars she is drawn to the frills - like heated seats, hands-free telephone capability plus having USB ports and iPod connections as well as a built in screen for the GPS. Not one of those has anything to do with how the car runs. The guy at the service station did tell her to "call" with any questions. She hopes he meant it.
What's the point of all this? Just to say that until I started watching Ellouise live "in-grief" I had no idea what it meant to be grieving.
Grief is not something a person "gets over".
Grief is sly and takes hold of the person who has lost someone they love - and hangs on like a snapping turtle - -
Its not fun - it hurts.