I was driving back from Rochester last Sunday morning after a celebration weekend with Amelia and Nick. Families and friends came from states away to join and celebrate their engagement. The pictures do not begin to capture the weekend’s events, yet as we left to drive home, I replayed the festivities in my mind.
While Jack was sleeping soundly in the front seat, my thoughts began to wander, as usual. With Rochester behind me, tears began to flow, but not about what you think. The tears were coming from thinking about the days, months, years, sporting events, and weekends of fun as a family that had passed. Where did the time go? Reviewing the engagement celebration in my mind, I noticed the writing on the passenger rearview mirror: Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. And I began to think.
Life’s memories are not closer than they appear.
I think memories take their rightful place, and some stay behind in the distance and are triggered now and then to appear. Some bring joy; others deliver sadness. Our memories fly by with the stealth and speed of an import sports car. By the time you glance up and see the magnificent vision of an Audi R8 or Porsche 911, it passes you, and you are soon in his rearview mirror and gone. Memories are like that too.
As I pass through my life, now forever altered, the images in my mind’s rearview mirror are speeding past, and they are not closer than they appear. The distance is winning, and it hit me- time is flying by, and there is no time to waste.
Chip will never be in my rearview mirror.
I hold Chip so close to my chest, and I swear at night I can hear his heartbeat. He is ever-present in Jack and Amelia, and I see him in them all the time. Memories are present with each of the kids, and I see him in their mannerisms and voice. During the celebrations this weekend, Chip was there through the stories we told during periods of joy and sadness. Stories are drawn forward from our rearview mirrors.
I held Amelia’s hand and looked at the ring sitting on that significant finger. As I listened to her talk about how Nick proposed, I could see every moment of our engagement. I am content and fulfilled seeing them together and knowing the next generation will have a love and life together. They are building memories that they will call upon throughout their lives.
The rearview mirror is a funny thing.
Sometimes it shows what we want to see, and other times it tells the truth. Chip was not there this weekend to reap the benefits of raising a daughter and see her begin a life of her own. Jack is perfect for standing in Chip’s place. Chip is present in Amelia in strength, focus, and heart, but Jack has the deep soul that Chip may have only shown to me. What a gift. I often look in the rearview mirror to bring close the memories that get me through the day.
Not to be clichéd, but the road of life is flying by, and Jack and Amelia are on their paths, and I pray they include me for decades to come. Those memories will sustain my heart and soul for as long as I live and perhaps beyond.
I don’t fear the rearview mirror, but I worry about what lies ahead. When I am alone and start to feel anxious, I hear Miss Tillie’s breath and heavy snoring telling me it will be okay. Her warm soul carries a profound history of its own, and her rearview mirror now shows happy events and memories. The past is miles behind her, not to be revisited.
While missing its leader, our little pack will continue with the strength evenly divided into three, four if we count Miss Tillie. It is a vision and a foundation undivided and never lost in a rearview mirror.