Mid-Life Ramblings; Sanity Optional

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Wearing your grief

For the past several days I've noticed a Mazda Pilot amidst all the traffic that has on the back window a tribute to the woman's daughter, her "angel" who apparently died at the age of 17 in 2003. Hers is not the first vehicle that I've seen with such a tribute, just the latest in what I'm thinking is becoming a trend. I can't help but get a picture in my mind of this woman carrying her daughter's tombstone around on her back because that's what that tribute says to me.

Now please don't send me hatemail because I'm not saying that this woman or anyone else who's done this is wrong. What I'm doing is just asking why. What drives an individual to carry their grief around like that? Is she going to put that same tribute on every vehicle she drives from here on out?

The other trend is the crosses or other memorials on the side of the road where folks have died in automobile accidents. Folks tend these like graves. There's a spot in a curve here in Baton Rouge where apparently two people died in a crash and I'm assuming they wrapped the vehicle around the tree because the tribute is on the tree itself. There are always new flowers or windsocks and now there's some windchimes there.

I guess I just don't understand what purpose it all serves.

It's not that I don't know what it's like to feel intense grief. I lost my best friend to leukemia at age 15. I know what it feels like to sit at a grave and cry your eyes out and talk to that person as if they were right there. My beloved grandmother died in 1991 and hardly a day goes by that I don't miss her. It's still hard to think about her dying without tears welling up because we were very close. She died of a massive heart attack while picking pecans in her backyard. That house is still in our family but there's no cross or windchimes or windsocks out in the spot where they found her dead.

Maybe it's because I'm a wizard at internalizing things - at least that's what my therapist tells me. I just know that I couldn't carry it around with me each and every day, seeing that reminder every time I got into my vehicle or passed a particular spot. I feel for those who do because I fear their healing process may be stuck. Our hearts never truly mend when we lose someone that close to us. There always remains a hole that person left behind in our lives. But time does make it easier to carry on unless we become stuck in the grieving and refuse to let go. Every time I pass one of those tributes I say a little prayer - not for the one who died but for the one(s)left behind still grieving so publicly in hopes that they may one day find peace.


  • At 4:17 PM, Blogger Dixie said…

    You know, my sister and I had this same conversation when I was home in November? Remember the day we went to Graceland? On the way to the hotel to meet y'all I got detained for a moment by an accident on one of those back-ass roads down in the country where my sister lives and the poor woman died. The next morning when I went to meet y'all again there were already flowers out at the crash site.

    My sister and I couldn't figure out the motive behind such a thing either. It's not like the person is there. Their spirit is well away. I find it just as quirky as if people set up memorials in front of hospital rooms.

    And lots of these accident sites are at bad places on the road. Why make something at the one place where people shouldn't be distracted while driving?

    I saw one of those bumper stickers as well when I was in Corinth. It sort of freaked me out actually.

  • At 4:29 PM, Blogger BarefootCajun said…

    Oh hers isn't a bumper sticker - it's lovely script lettering that takes up the bulk of the rear window on that SUV and includes a blue butterfly and a purple ribbon. Odd.

  • At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Kay said…

    Here in Lafayette we have several such sights. I don't understand the families motivation for keeping fresh flowers and new ornaments where their loved ones died. There is one not far from my house where a teenager died, I, too, say a prayer each time I pass it for the ones he's left behind. I believe part of the reasoning is to slow people down but I'm not sure if it is affective. I'm sure it is impossible for any of his family or friends to drive this curve without thinking of him regardless of any marker.


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