His car….

I traded in his car this weekend and it was one of the hardest partings I have ever had. You see, when they passed (my grandmother & grandfather only 5 days apart) I was never able to return to their home. The rest of my family was able to retrieve things, trinkets, photographs, memories, but I could not. It was too much. The grief was too much. They were the stability in my uncertain world. They were always there for me, loving me unconditionally. They never judged me, always made sense of my senselessness. And he was my rock. He was the only man I have ever known that was strong and stoic, who was loving and supportive, who I don’t ever recall yelling or raising his voice. He showed his love for my grandmother every single day. He kissed her, on the lips, every single day when he got home from work. He took care of the finances, the driving, the household…everything. He was the silent nurturer. He taught me valuable lessons, my love for my country, for my family, for honor. He made me look things up, old school style, in the dictionary or the encyclopedia. He taught me the value of listening. He taught me the value of saving my voice, so that when I finally spoke, people would listen. When he passed, I inherited his car. His 2001 Hyundai Sonata. He meticulously logged every oil change, every tire rotation, every tune up. He kept in the glove box, the maintenance log. He kept in the center console a lighter (even though he did not smoke), a pen, a pencil, a white pad of paper, nail clippers and a match book. When I inherited his car I left those things there in honor of him. Sometimes driving down the road the doors would lock automatically, after like 30 minutes in the car, this was before the time of autolocks and I would always say “Thank You” and look to the sky. I felt he was there with me. I felt like the love and care he put into his vehicle was transferred from machine to me and it enveloped me. His love enveloped me there in that car. So even when it would break down on me, I kept it and put money into it, loving and caring for it, logging everything, my handwriting after his. People would make fun of my car because the passenger window stopped working and I had it “rigged” to stay up, or the paint was fading, or the locks would sometimes stick and it would take a few tries to get it unlocked. It was mostly cosmetic but I didn’t care what it looked like, or how old it was. I loved it because it represented him. So parting with it, felt like parting with him all over again. I cried at the dealership. I cried when I told my mother I bought a new car. I cried recounting the story to friends. My grief finally caught up to me. I asked for the maintenance logs from my grandfather’s car and I promptly put them in my new vehicle. He would be proud of my accomplishments. He would be happy that he could help me again, moving into a new phase of my life. He has never stopped looking out for me. And as I signed the papers on my new vehicle, the song “Home” played overhead. A song that has always reminded me of my grandparents and I knew they were with me and would be always.

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