Monday, September 14, 2009

Etched in the Rain

I was riding in the back of the car watching the rain slash across the windshield, while the wipers cleared the way to drive. My son had stopped at a traffic light. My wife was in the passenger seat. I sat alone in the back of the car, staring straight ahead at my family in the front seat. No one was talking.

The next morning our son would be leaving Texas, for a job in San Francisco.

I was reminded of my father’s death. More specifically I was reminded of the night of his death. It was raining that night too. The night my father died I drove my mother home from the hospital in the rain. It was quiet in the car. Our lives had changed, and both of us were very tired from the hospital vigil and the intense emotion it had brought us. We had little to say, yet we were bound by time and circumstance to one another in this time of pain. Our ride held meaning beyond any routine car ride. It was the type of moment that can renew our role in one another’s lives, a moment that can burn the sights, sounds and emotions into our memories for a lifetime. We all know the rhythmic sound of the wipers moving from the top of their arc to the bottom. We know the sound of the rain, a sound distinct to us all, even with our eyes closed. These are the images and sounds of everyday life that can suddenly etch our memory, when they occur in a significant moment. The sound of the tires across puddles when you’re in motion, the hypnotic image of red and green traffic lights splotched across the windshields surface, reflected off the droplets of water where the wipers can’t reach. When you couple the sights and the sounds with the emotion, like it existed in the car that night, it becomes impossible to erase the memory. When it is silent in the car, the memories burrow even deeper.

The memory of my father’s passing and the quiet bond between me and my mother came home while we sat at that traffic light in my son's car.

I don’t know why the memory chose that moment.

Maybe the power we call fate throws out random reminders of our mortality.

Perhaps the gods expect us to miss the reminders, like we might overlook the note scribbled on a piece of paper in front of us.

This note from fate, or circumstance, or whatever it is that places our minds and hearts and our bodies in a common experience, I didn’t miss. I caught it solidly.

I understood many things in that quiet moment in my son’s car.

I understood my mortality.

I understood the bond between my son and his mother.

I comprehended their allegiance to me.

I understood I was being given a glimpse into the future.

A time when I will not be in the car, yet they will.

I saw a time when the son will comfort the mother, once again.

I understood and caught the moment as though I were already gone.

I understood my place in the world in a more defined way.

I understood it in its past tense and its present tense.

Now, in this moment, I was offered a chance to know it in its future tense.

And I saw it would be alright.

Fate and circumstance will turn in their infinite revolutions.

And it will be alright.


kathi said...

A year and eight days waiting for this and you, still, do not disappoint.
We've all, by our age, had those moments with a parent or loved one, where the silence is loud enough that it doesn't need any accompaniment...words or otherwise. Those times are always memorable.
I'm curious, though (what a surprise), what made you think that you may be the one gone and your son and wife left behind.

Seven said...

Kid Bratcher,
Cuz I got an email from God. Of course it could have been an impersonator, cuz they typed LOL at the end of the message?

Honestly, I just know, that's all. Really. Its the second vision of that kind. I know. Me first. Always selfish that way, I am.

Lynilu said...

This reminds me of my long trek from WA state to FL after my husband's death. I had time for reflections for the first time in a long time. It was a good trip, lots of time (about 4 weeks) to think and process those thoughts. Some folks find that morbid, but I think it is reassuring to reflect. It is the only way you'll know, as you say, it will be alright.

I'm so glad to hear from you, Seven. I have missed your thoughtful, thought-provoking posts. A few days ago I looked at my sidebar and wondered if I should remove your link. Then I thought, "No, his blog is still there, so until he takes it down, who knows?" I'm glad I had faith in your return!

Seven said...

Ouch. Is that like a near divorce or something? Hang in there with me. I'll post again a year from now.

Lynilu said...

Yeah, it felt that way to me, also, but don't forget who did the deserting!! A year, huh? Oooooookay.

Toni Moore said...

Rick, that makes me think too. Like you, I wonder what makes those moments of insite hit us only at certain times and so seldom. I lost my best friend last week and I have been in a melancholy place for days. On the drive home from her funeral in Austin I was sad yet recalling the years of fun times. I do have regrets and was reminded once again to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you while they are here. Several times over the last few weeks I think she was trying to talk to me about her approaching death and I didn't really let her do that. She is gone now and it will be alright. I have
many memories to visit when I miss her. Thanks for sharing the memory of your father, mother and your family. You were lucky to have such insight.

Seven said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think there are voices all around us, if we find the time, the heart and fine tune our reception, so that we can hear them.
Condolences re: your friend.

~grey said...

Your words are always comforting.

I understand the tired emotional car ride... with this case my sister. Just after our Mother passed. That silence brought us closer together. We hear her voice often... we take comfort in the sudden memories and thoughts of her. Our own mortality is always front and center.

Always good to read you 7

(Silent tunes of Grey)

Monogram Queen said...

I have missed your writing, I can string a few words together but YOU can make a real meat n' taters meal of them. I have missed you blogging!

Seven said...

I know you really understood the bonding thru silence thing, I feel it in your descriptions. Thanks for bopping back around here!

Monoram Queen? You'll always be Cakes to me, and dare I say you've seen me naked too!
That's a frame-able comment. Might hang that one on my wall.