Goodbye, Giant Hunk of Metal

We said goodbye to our Toyota 4Runner this week. My husband was in a car accident and thankfully he’s fine, but the air bags deployed and the front bumper was destroyed,¬†which made a car that old, with that many miles not worthy of saving.

I know it’s ridiculous to feel emotional about a car, but I do. We brought Future Husband home in that car. I remember it vividly: it was about 9 o’clock at night and super cold. I sat in the back with the baby and warned my husband to go slow. I was so tired, anxious about taking a jaundiced baby home. I was wearing the same thing on the way home that I wore on the way to the hospital.

We had plans to give Future President this car when he turned 16. “Where’s Daddy’s car?” the baby now asks whenever we pull into the driveway at home. “It’s broken. It’s gone. It’s getting smashed.”

The car dealership let us keep the car overnight when we were debating whether to buy it. So we drove up one of the canyons out of Salt Lake City to see how it did climbing a mountain. It was powerful, so much more powerful than the Ford Explorer we had used to move across country, a car that literally died five miles from our final destination. So we bought the powerful SUV, with dreams of someday pulling a water ski boat behind us, dreams of camping trips and packing it full with kids’ gear like bikes and skis.

My husband and I drove to D.C. in a car packed to the ceiling with our meager belongings as we set out for law school and work on the Hill; we drove back across country three years later to Seattle for more school; a year later, we drove to Salt Lake City for a new job; and three years later, we packed up a giant U-Haul and the 4Runner to go “home” to the Pacific Northwest. Here’s to more adventures in a car that gets better gas mileage than that red beast.

Amazing Love

This was written on Dec. 28.

My grandfather had been dying for a few days now, refusing food and breathing with oxygen only. We knew it was only a matter of time and I was so glad to arrive in Maine on Christmas day to get a chance to say good bye. Last night, he was breathing very heavily, and my mom had been struggling with the idea if we should tell my grandma how sick he was. Because of her stroke, she doesn’t always comprehend what you tell her, but my mom decided to tell her that Poppop was very sick and would be going to sleep soon. She said, “Oh no” and started cyring. AJ picked her up and put her on Poppop’s bed, facing him so she could see him with her good eye. We had her feel his arm and hand with her good hand and asked her if she wanted to say anything. She said, “I’m sorry.” We told her she didn’t have to be sorry because he had been a good father, husband, and grandfather, and that he wouldn’t be sick anymore. And when Jesus comes we’ll all be healed. My mom asked if she wanted to give him a kiss. And using the most movement she’s done in a long time, leaned down and kissed him on the cheek. AJ moved her back to her chair. We then asked her if she wanted to pray for anything. She said to “take care of the family.” AJ asked if there was anything else. She said again to “take care of the family.” So AJ prayed and when he looked up, he saw that Poppop had tears coming out of his eyes. My mom went to wipe his eyes and hold his hand and then he took one deep breath and was gone.

It was like he was waiting to say good bye to his wife of 55 years. It was the most amazing and romantic thing I have ever seen. I don’t know how much Nanny knew, but after he was gone we put her back up on the bed to say good bye and asked her if there was anything she wanted to say. She said, “too late,” but we told her that he waited to say good bye and that she had taken such good care of him. When he could still speak, he told one of the nurses she was his best friend and a good wife.

This has been such an emotional time, but I’m so glad my grandma got to say good bye. It seems that’s what he needed to go peacefully.