Today, I drove past my parents’ old house. I was in my hometown visiting my best friend from high school and she needed to make a quick stop at her sister’s house. Her sister happens to live right around the corner from my family’s old home. As we drove toward her sister’s, my friend ever so casually mentioned that we would be driving down my parents’ old street.
I didn’t have a lot of time to react. It has been quite a few years since I have been by the old place, and I figured that I would be fine with it. It’s been long enough, right? After all, the place has changed a lot since we lived there. There is more foliage out front and the new owners have built a much higher fence around the pool. It’s even painted a different color.
How could my friend know that I couldn’t just casually drive by the house without being flooded by so many memories of my parents? She had no way of knowing that simply passing by the house would cause jagged pain this many years later. She casually mentioned how much my dad loved working in the front yard and how my mom loved that pool.
Even though twenty years have passed since we lived there, I can still see my dad sitting on the front porch. He was sitting on that same front porch the last time I saw him. As I drove away, how could I know that it would be the last time I would wave to him? How could I know that a week later he would crash his truck and be gone from me forever?
I managed to keep it together as we drove past my old house. I didn’t tell my friend about the pain and now I’m wondering why. Why do grievers feel the need to keep it inside? It’s not like she wouldn’t have understood. We have been best friends for 30 years and she has lost both of her parents. If anyone would have understood my sadness, she would have.
Even knowing this, I still kept my pain to myself. As I’m writing about it tonight I feel so much better. Saying it out loud really does help. Being reminded of this, I wonder if I will say it out loud next time or just sit quietly in my own sorrow?Tags: grief, hope